Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,Ref-Mahopac) is pleased to announce the resolution he introduced to proclaim October 15, 2020 as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the state of New York has passed the Assembly unanimously. Sadly, over 26,000 babies are stillborn every year in the U.S., which equals 1 in every 160 pregnancies, or 70 babies (a school bus full of children) every day. Byrne was careful to point out that while this issue has affected members of his family and those, he is close to, he has also learned this tragic loss of life has a disproportionate impact on minority communities in our state, especially the black community.
I cannot imagine the hurt and pain these families must go through from losing their child, said Byrne. My heart and prayers go out to them all. I would like to give special thanks to my colleague from Brooklyn, Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte, for sharing her powerful story during session and supporting this resolution. It is my sincere hope this resolution will give greater recognition to this important cause and help raise awareness about stillbirth so we can do a better job of addressing this pressing public health issue in our state.
During consideration of the resolution, Bichotte shared these powerful words with her Assembly colleagues, I want to thank the sponsor for bringing this resolution up. This hit home because four years ago I lost my child, and since losing my child I was very open about the process to bring more awareness which is why I introduced a number of bills for stillbirth, the Jonah Bichotte Cowan bill, which is a pre-term labor bill. I just wanted to offer my condolences to everyone who lost their child. It is very important that we address the health disparities, and again I want to thank the sponsor for recognizing and addressing that we do have health disparities in our communities. I would like to dedicate this resolution also to all those who lost their loved ones, and in the name of my late son, Jonah Bichotte Cowan.
The Star Legacy Foundation New York Metro Chapter posted online A huge thank you to Assembly members Byrne & Bichotte for your continued advocacy on behalf of our babies amongst the stars! And thank you for calling out that stillbirth disproportionately affects women of color, particularly Black communities - it's time for this unacceptable disparity to change. Awareness is the first step toward progress, and we are thankful for NY State's support as we endeavor to give every pregnancy the very best chance at the happy ending it deserves!
A 2017 scorecard provided by the Star Legacy Foundation scored New York state 33rd out of 50 states (50th being the worst stillbirth rate). The scorecard identified the top five counties with the highest rate of stillbirth in our state to be the five boroughs of New York City. It also shined a bright light on the existing racial disparities in our state, noting the stillbirth rate per 1,000 live births (2007-2017) was 12.6 Black/African American, 6.6 Hispanic, 6.1 Native American/Alaska Native, 5.4 White, and 4.5 Asian/Pacific Islander.
The resolution passed by Byrne proclaiming Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day includes, but is not limited to, recognizing miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and the death of a newborn. Currently, 21 countries observe this day of remembrance with more joining each year. Byrne dedicated his vote in memory of Theodore Teddy Joseph Kane, late son of his cousin Liza and her husband Bryan Kane.