Written by The Business Journal Staff
Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s (R-Fresno) bill to provide financial relief to parents who have experienced a stillbirth was approved unanimously in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee last week.
“While this bill can’t take away from the loss they’ve experienced, it can provide incredible relief for families in need,” said Patterson.
AB 2259 would provide the parents of a stillborn baby a tax credit of as much as $2,000 to help with associated health care and burial costs for the taxable year in which the stillbirth occurred.
Sacramento radio show host Gavin Ferguson testified in support of AB 2259. His daughter Phoebe was stillborn at 41 weeks and since then has started a non-profit called “Phoebe’s Fund” with his wife to provide funds to the struggling parents of stillborn babies.
“It’s not bad enough that parents have to surf the waves of grief for the rest of their lives, mourning a child they will never get to watch grow up,” Ferguson. “They also have to deal with unexpected expenses that add insult to injury. Funeral costs, burial or cremation costs and medical costs to pay for the birth of a baby you now have to bury.”
The typical medical cost for a stillbirth is higher than a live birth.
Ariel Weeks, the chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation, an organization dedicated to stillbirth prevention, also shared her testimony of her experience.
“At 41 weeks pregnant we were thrilled and excited to meet our first daughter, Sydney Marie,” Weeks said. “That day, we became one of 26,000 families who suffer a stillbirth every year—basically equivalent of a 747 airplane crashing every five days.”
AB 2259 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks.