Mr. J and I had the opportunity to interview with WQOW about proposed legislation for tax breaks for families with stillborn babies. Click the link below to watch the interview.
New bill would create tax break for parents of stillborn children
Posted: Mar 27, 2017 7:01 PM CDT
Eau Claire (WQOW) – Health officials say miscarriages and stillbirths happen more commonly than they are talked about. One in four pregnancies results in a loss. Now, a new effort aims to support parents who lose a child to stillbirth. State lawmakers are considering a bill that would give those parents the same tax break other parents get.
On Mother’s Day of 2016 Emily Juran learned she would become a mom and couldn’t wait to break the news to her husband, Paul. They fondly remember the moment she shared the surprise in the kitchen of their Eau Claire home.
Their daughter was born on September 9, 2016. It was a day soaked in rain. Emily remembers the early morning drive to Rochester, Minnesota and the anticipation, heavy, like the storm clouds above. “I was scared. My labor classes were actually the following week. I had no idea what to do.” Emily shared with tears in her eyes, “And then, I was slightly excited because I knew I was going to meet my baby.”
Mia Delilah arrived early. She was stillborn at 22 weeks. “While I was thinking and preparing for labor, at the same time, we were preparing for a funeral,” said Emily as she spoke of an agony that’s hard to put to words. A week earlier the couple learned their unborn daughter had Triploidy, a rare and lethal chromosomal abnormality. They made a heartbreaking decision to end the pregnancy. “At that point, there really wasn’t another option,” said Paul. “It just got more dangerous, more risky.”
On paper, it’s as if the Jurans brought a baby home, the hospital bills prove that. Mothers who have a baby born with a heartbeat, no matter how long they live, get tax breaks that help alleviate the financial burden. But mothers of stillborn infants do not.
“What I wrestle with is, the woman in the room next to me gave birth to a live baby. Why is she worthy of these breaks and I’m not?” questioned Emily. “What did I do differently that I’m not worthy of the same rights as this woman who went through labor just like I did?” Paul agreed with his wife’s confusion. “Baby takes a breath, you get it (the tax break). I mean, I don’t think, that makes sense. That’s drawing a pretty fine line.”
It’s why the Jurans support new legislation that would give parents of stillborn babies a $2,000 tax credit. State Representative Joan Ballweg is a co-sponsor of the bill. She says the money would go toward bereavement costs, medical bills and funeral expenses. “It would be an extra expense, but if that baby was born alive, a parent would get basically the same kind of contribution,” said the lawmaker.
Had they not been supported by family the Jurans say the days following Mia’s birth would have been much more difficult to navigate with an added layer of financial stress. “If i had to worry about getting back to to work because I was financially in a hole and worried, I wouldn’t have been able to take the time I needed to heal,” said Emily.
And with a fresh coat of paint that healing has begun. Emily has started, once again, to work on a baby room in the house. For her, it’s therapeutic and a part of the grieving process.The couple is hopeful that someday, soon, their little family will grow.
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