Controversy Stricken Fetal Death Bill To Be Withdrawn

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

There's controversy in the Commonwealth, and one state delegate is feeling the heat. It all stems from the fetal death bill, and its language.

The heat is on. House Bill #1677, otherwise known as the "Fetal Death Bill," is causing a major headache for its writer.

The bill drawn up by Chesapeake Delegate John Cosgrove (R) last month is sparking controversy across the country mainly through the internet. The issue centers on how the bill is worded.

Web sites like democracyforvirginia.com, dailykos.com, and fark.com report on that the fetal death bill would force women to report a miscarriage within 12 hours, or face charges of a class one misdemeanor.

Delegate Cosgrove told CBS 19 News' Venton Blandin, it's just a misunderstanding.

“The intent of HB 1677 was to require the notification of authorities on a delivery of a baby that is said to be dead and the mother has not been attended by a medical professional.”

However, some people remain concerned that the bill's intent does not match its actual wording.

Maura Keaney, an author of the Web site democracyforvirginia.com, and the hundreds who have read the primary source material beg to differ, adding “We don't misunderstand what the bill says. Whether it is what Cosgrove meant to legislate is arguable, but there is nothing in HB1677, as written, about saving live infants from being abandoned. Nothing about ‘babies who are newborn that are immediately abandoned to die,’ as Cosgrove claims.”

CBS 19's Venton Blandin spoke with Delegate Cosgrove over the telephone, and the Delegate said he plans to withdraw the bill on Jan. 12, and will probably work on another bill further down the road with the specific word “stillborn” in the its text.


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