The Letter I Had To Write
April 13, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
I recently applied for a birth certificate for my daughter, Rory Rose Blum. Rory was born on August 26, 2011, and passed away on September 12, 2011.
I applied for her birth certificate so I could have it as a precious memento to put into her baby book.
Imagine my surprise and horror when we received her birth certificate with the word “DECEASED” stamped across her information in bold, black letters. You can hardly read the information. It broke my heart to see the Government of Alberta found my daughter’s birth irrelevant simply because she had passed away eighteen days later.
I understand the reason for this new, and quite frankly, insensitive, policy is to protect against fraud. But I also know there is a fine line between trying to protect people and trampling on their rights. My daughter was born, lived, and then passed away. She has as much of a right to a birth certificate as anyone else. When I pass away, no one is going to come and stamp DECEASED on my birth certificate. I know the Government of Alberta has gone to great lengths to make birth certificates and other identification protected against fraud. The Government should trust in their own precautions and not submit parents who have suffered an infant loss to the trauma of receiving a birth certificate that instead of being a treasured memento is another callous reminder of all they have lost.
I am asking as a grieving mother who believes her daughter’s life is not cancelled out by her death – please send me a true birth certificate of my daughter that has not been defaced and devalued in the name of fraud protection. And please, for all the other parents in
who may suffer an infant loss, rethink this new policy of defacing birth certificates of babies who were only in the world for a little while. Alberta