Bill would provide tax credit, recognition for still births in Ohio

Heather Johnston Welliver told lawmakers Tuesday morning she had just six hours in 2014 with her daughter Lydia, who was stillborn, to read to her, kiss her and tell her how much she loves her.

Then came the cremation and memorial service, the hospital bills and the grief counseling she needed after the painful and confusing experience. She asked lawmakers to support a bill that would give parents of stillborn babies a $2,000 refundable personal income tax credit to help with expenses, “but most importantly, have my child recognized by the state of Ohio,” she said.

Stillbirth is defined as the death of infants before or during delivery at 20 or more weeks of gestation. Supporters of House Bill 507 described the financial and emotional stress of having a baby they never bring home, as first reported in Wednesday’s Capitol Letter,’s daily Statehouse briefing. Stillborn children don’t receive birth certificates, parents don’t always get bereavement leave and can’t claim them as children on their taxes, said Beth Swartz, a labor and delivery nurse at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s in Westerville, who advocates for families who experience a stillbirth.

In Ohio, there are about 900 stillbirths a year, a largely unchanged rate for the past 15 years. Ohio ranks at seventh nationally in stillbirths, said Johnston Welliver’s husband, Justin Welliver.

If HB 507 passes, Ohio would become the seventh state to allow a tax credit for parents of stillborn children, he said.

Click here to read more of this story.

About Marion Online News

Marion Online is owned and operated by the (somewhat) fine people at Neighborhood Image, a local website design and hosting company. We know, a locally owned media company, it's crazy. To send us information, click on Contact Us in the menu.