LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts highlighted a new Commemorative Certificate of Nonviable Birth that is now available through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Nebraska is the first in the nation to offer a certificate recognizing the life of pre-born children who pass away.
“Senator Albrecht’s work is helping Nebraska families recognize the dignity of their baby who passes away before birth,” said Governor Ricketts. “This certificate offered by the Department of Health and Human Services not only affirms the pre-born baby’s dignity, it also provides closure to mothers, fathers, and families who are grappling with the pain and heartache of losing a child.”
The application for the Commemorative Certificate of Nonviable Birth became available on the DHHS public website on July 16. The certificate is retroactive and covers infants from 0-20 weeks of gestation, in a pregnancy verified by a health care practitioner. There are two routes available to obtain the certificate: 1) a letter or 2) an application and a worksheet.
A health care practitioner/health care facility will advise a patient who experiences a nonviable birth that the patient may request a commemorative certificate and, upon request of the patient, shall provide a letter verifying the nonviable birth to the patient. The following information must be provided in the letter:
- Full name of baby (if named)
- Month, day, and year of loss
- City, town, and county of loss
- Mother’s full current legal name (first, middle, last, suffix)
- Father’s full current legal name (first, middle, last, suffix) (if known)
In lieu of the letter, the health care practitioner or designee may provide the patient with the completed Nonviable Birth Worksheet. The worksheet then must be submitted with the Nonviable Birth Application and $19 to the Department of Vital Records located at 1033 O Street, First Floor Suite 130, in the Golds Galleria building located in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Within 60 days of receipt of the letter or worksheet/application and fee, the Department shall issue a commemorative certificate, which is not proof of a live birth.
The website for applications is: http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/NonViableBirths.aspx.
The certificate became possible with the April 18 signing of LB 1040, which had been sponsored by State Senator Joni Albrecht of Thurston.