Rep. Ullman's statement on Health Committee discussion, HB 1890

This is an explanation, not an excuse, of my poorly chosen words during a committee discussion on this bill that would require internment or cremation of remains following a miscarriage.

I was in near tears relaying the story of a family friend, a young woman who I watched grow up with my own daughters. She recently went through a miscarriage and shared her concerns about this bill with me.

This issue is intensely important to me and is why I struggled for words. Words matter, and in this instance, my words were hurtful. If I could un-speak those words I surely would, and I apologize. 

I believe that every single step of a medical process, including the handling of remains, should be decided by a patient and her doctor. This proposed bill interferes with the decision process. It would dictate that the remains of any pregnancy that ends in a healthcare facility must be cremated and/or interred. This would include the earliest pregnancies.  

For some patients this is appropriate, but for some this is too intrusive. 

Many women and families find comfort and solace in ritual burial or cremation. But this would not feel appropriate for all women. Some would even choose donation for medical research, like my family friend, who I quoted earlier in the committee meeting, saying, “So my loss can have meaning.” 

We need to honor the way women understand their own pregnancies and grieve their loss if they miscarry. We need to support all women and their families in the way they find best in this very difficult, intensely personal situation. This bill would require ritual cremation or burial in all cases, so I cannot support it.