Assemblyman Patterson’s Bill Offering Tax Credit to Parents of Stillborn Babies Passes in Committee

Posted on 15 May 2018 for representative Jim Patterson

Assemblyman Patterson’s Bill Offering Tax Credit to Parents of Stillborn Babies Passes in Committee SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s (R-Fresno) bill to provide much-needed financial relief to parents who have experienced a stillbirth was approved unanimously in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee Monday. AB 2259 will provide parents of a stillborn baby up to a $2,000 tax credit to help with associated healthcare and burial costs for the taxable year in which the stillbirth occurred. “While this bill can’t take away from the loss they’ve experienced, it can provide incredible relief for families in need,” Assemblyman Patterson said. In addition to the emotional toll, there are considerable financial hardships resulting from a stillbirth, including medical bills, funeral arrangements, and even grief counseling. The typical medical cost for a stillbirth is higher than a live birth, yet only parents who have a live birth are afforded tax relief when both have made the same arrangements in preparation for the baby. Sacramento radio show host Gavin Ferguson testified in support of AB 2259. His daughter Phoebe was stillborn at 41 weeks. He and his wife have since started a non-profit called Phoebe’s Fund that provides funds to parents struggling to afford costs associated with a stillborn baby. “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 said. “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.” Ariel Weeks, Chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation, an organization dedicated to stillbirth prevention, also shared her testimony of her stillbirth experience. “At 41 weeks pregnant we were thrilled and excited to meet our first daughter Sydney Marie. That day, we became one of 26,000 families who suffer a stillbirth every year – basically the equivalent of a 747 airplane crashing every five days. “I’m not asking for special treatment for families who suffer a stillbirth. I’m asking for equal treatment to parents fortunate enough to have healthy, live babies. Besides providing a little relief to help offset the expense of a still birth which costs more than a live birth, you’ll be restoring a little dignity to those of us who feel like me who feel as though science, doctors and the world have forgotten about us,” Weeks said. AB 2259 will be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks. ### Assemblyman Patterson (R-Fresno) represents the 23rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes communities in Fresno and Tulare County.