General Question

talljasperman's avatar

Are aborted or miscarried babies still considered to be part of the family?

Asked by talljasperman (21875points) June 12th, 2013

Also are they considered persons under the law; With the right to a birth and death certificate and proper burial ? Also where do the abortions/miscarriages go?

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20 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Well an aborted baby would never get a birth certificate, and I doubt a miscarried baby would get one either. Burial or whatever would be up to the family I guess.

Brings up a question though, where do the abortions/miscarriages go?

Katniss's avatar

Tough question. While an aborted or miscarried baby will always, to some extent, be with the mother, I’m not sure that it would actually be part of the family because its not a living breathing thing. Does that make sense? :0/

Blondesjon's avatar

I’m gonna say that is one hundred percent dependent of the family.

marinelife's avatar

Not aborted babies, but miscarried babies sometimes are. It depends on the parents’ inclinations.

Bellatrix's avatar

This information applies to Australia.

If a baby is miscarried before 20 weeks, you cannot register its birth or death. You won’t receive an official birth certificate but the hospital might provide something and some organisations also offer a certificate to grieving parents.

The remains may be sent to the lab for testing but it’s really up to you to check with the hospital on their policy. Parents may be able to request the remains and have their own ceremony.

After 20 weeks, the baby is considered to be stillborn and the child’s birth and death are registered. In Australia, there will be a cremation or burial.

I would say people who miscarry or experience a stillborn child will always consider that baby as part of their family. A woman voluntarily deciding to have an abortion will probably not view the fetus in this way.

RandomGirl's avatar

I think it’s a highly personal choice. All I know is that any child of mine, however early in its development it is when it dies, will be considered a part of my family. I’ll grieve its death and, if at all possible, I’ll give it a proper burial.

[WARNING, highly controversial ideas ahead] I’ve always wondered what the difference is between a stillborn/miscarried fetus and an aborted fetus. Surely, there’s no physical difference. It seems to me, the only difference is the mother’s wishes and plans. This changes the fetus’ identity how?

seekingwolf's avatar

I don’t think so. I know my mom has lost babies and I don’t think of them as siblings.

Bellatrix's avatar

@RandomGirl my understanding is a miscarriage occurs before 20 weeks because the child is not considered viable until after that point. After 20 weeks it’s called a stillbirth because the child could survive at 20 weeks. A miscarriage and a stillbirth are involuntary ends to the pregnancy. I think the general understanding of an abortion would be that it was a deliberate end to the pregnancy although I think a miscarriage might have been (and may still be for all I know) referred to in medical terms as an spontaneous abortion. I think the defining difference is miscarriage is involuntary and abortion is normally deliberate.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

No, you have birth/death certs for stillborns, but not for abortions or miscarriages.

As for where they go, from what I understand, aborted babies (and stillborns) are “disposed of” by the clinic/hospital staff. I think they have the remains cremated.

I’ve never gone to the hospital when I’ve had a miscarriage. All my miscarriages happened at home, and I just wore lots of pads and sat on towels and whatnot. A miscarried baby comes out like a period, so it goes onto the towel or hospital pad or whatever, and is thrown away, like when you have a period.

RandomGirl's avatar

@Bellatrix Well yes. That’s the technical definition of it all. But the question in my mind is why miscarriages and stillbirths are usually mourned, even at fairly early stages of development, while people are constantly justifying abortions. What’s the difference?

Gabby101's avatar

I think it’s up to the individual to decide.

BTW, some people do mourn abortions. However, if you did not want the child, and you had an abortion, you are probably not losing the hopes and dreams you had surrounding the birth of that child and becoming a mother, which is really what you mourn when you have a miscarriage. When you are pregnant, you plan and fantasize about your baby, and when that doesn’t happen you experience grief – this would be true if you had a miscarriage or an abortion.

Bellatrix's avatar

If you’ve decided to abort a pregnancy, I don’t think you would want to develop an emotional attachment @RandomGirl. Unless the abortion is for medical reasons and you have no choice, I would think it would be emotionally damaging to think of the fetus as a baby and become clucky about it. I don’t know that I could go through with an abortion if in my mind it was my ‘child’. If the abortion was not a free choice, I’m sure people do mourn the loss of their baby.

In contrast, a miscarriage/stillborn birth has all the promise of a child that will be. The parents are looking forward to the arrival of that baby. They allow themselves to fall in love with the baby that’s growing. So when something happens and that baby isn’t born alive, that would be heartbreaking and those parents need to grieve.

gailcalled's avatar

I had two early miscarriages that were clearly abnormal fetuses. I felt great relief, having already had a perfect son. I went on to have a pefect daughter. What I miscarried had no resemblance to a baby; just a very heavy period.

JLeslie's avatar

I guess it does depend on the person in terms of if emotionally they consider it part of the family. Miscarriages happen so often, I really doubt most people think of it as part of the family. Legally, I am guessing there might be a law in America similar to what @Bellatrix talks about, it makes sense, but I don’t know. 20 weeks seems kind of early in the pregnancy to be the line drawn. If a baby is born still at full term it is usually named and I would assume is always buried or cremated, or whatever the parents prefer. I know many women who have had babies die in utero in the 4th and 5th month, and as far as I know the fetus was not named. It was removed and I assume taken care of by the hospital.

An aborted fetus would not be considered a person legally. I doubt a family would consider it a part of the family, I never heard of anything like that.

@Gabby Women do get abortions who very very much wanted the child. Health problems with the baby or the mother can mean aborting when that baby was purposely tried for and the parents are excited for the pregnancy.

ETpro's avatar

I would have had an older brother, but he was stillborn. I never shared any of my toys with him, even though he didn’t have any. I had my own bedroom, and he didn’t, but he never complained about such mistreatment. And nobody in the family accused me of being selfish for thinking I was more important than him.

On the other hand, I didn’t even exist when he was born, so if my parents had not shared the information about his ill-fated arrival with me, I’d have never known he existed. Clearly he was still on their minds. They had made him, then waited 9 months for him to arrive. They had purchased a layette and picked a name. Of course, it’s a very different set of circumstances when a pregnancy is unwanted and is aborted early term. So the answer is it depends.

As to the law and where the remains usually go, I am neither a lawyer nor an undertaker. I’ll have to leave that part of the question for those Jellies who are knowledgeable in those areas.

Cupcake's avatar

The remains are usually disposed of by mass cremation.

Birth/death certificates are registered if the fetus is born with a measurable indicator of life (heart beat, respirations, etc.). This would not be the case with a stillbirth (born dead), miscarriage (died inside of mom), or abortion (performed before viability), but could happen with an extremely premature birth that has no chance for survival (i.e. between 20 and 22 weeks gestation). In this case, the fetus was born alive and died shortly thereafter. Then the poor mom gets a birth certificate sent in the mail.

JLeslie's avatar

This is interesting related to the definition of stillbirth around the world and whether the fetus/baby is registered. Go towards the bottom of the page.

Adagio's avatar

A good friend of mine had to go into an induced labour to deliver a stillborn baby, she was loved, named, and buried in their backyard, she is very much a part of their family.

RandomGirl's avatar

I’m not sure why I didn’t include this in my original response. There’s 8 years between me and my older brother, but about halfway between us, my mom had a miscarriage. She was pretty far along. I’m pretty sure they were about to find out whether it was a boy or a girl. Ever since I found out about it, I’ve considered that baby to be a sibling I never got to meet. I’ve thought about what it would’ve been like to have another older sister/brother plenty of times. If that kid had lived, they’d be 18 right now.

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