11.24.2021

New Mothers giving birth have to answer up to 100 questions of personal, private, health and sexual history in order to get a birth certificate for their new baby

Every day we are losing more of our rights and more of our privacy.  Because we are so conditioned to do so, many don't even question the invasion of privacy and assume they have to comply.  Even when the so-called 'authority' is merely the local health department and they've decided every new Mother giving birth has to answer their 100 question document vomit in order to get a birth certificate for your new baby.  

These include questions like what your INCOME is and HOW YOU ARE PAYING YOUR HOSPITAL BILL... (Absolutely invasive and has ZERO to do with your child's birth certificate!)  But wait... there are so many more crazy questions than those including NITTY GRITTY DETAILS of your childs birth that no one but you and your doctor need to know.  

How long were you having sexual intercourse without contraception before you got pregnant?

Or how much weight you gained, whether you were on WIC during your pregnancy, whether or not you took your vitamins (and if so, WHY NOT?), how long did it take you to get pregnant?  If you or the Dad traveled out of the state in the past 12 months (WTF?), if you had your teeth cleaned during pregnancy and more... much, much more - JUST SO YOU CAN GET YOUR NEW BABY'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO GIVE YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH OR SEXUAL HISTORY OR INCOME INFORMATION IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE.  

The ONLY thing the U.S.  government needs for the baby's Birth Certificate is usually the parents’ full names, the city, county and state of birth and the signature of a registrar.  

Sometimes a few more questions but nothing like new parents are being told they HAVE to disclose on the hospital forms - and then holding your baby's birth certificate hostage over it if you don't comply to their wishes.

Until last week I had no idea the INSANE number of questions AND insane questions new Moms are now being asked forced to answer.  When I had my last baby they were still using common sense and didn't have their power-hungry undies on and trying to force everyone to give up personal and private information. 

I learned this from someone I know who just had a baby and was talking about the long pages of forms, and how they were having to answer what position the baby was in before birth, how it was born, whether they needed 'help' with the birth etc. 

I was thinking "Um, I just had to fill out our names, address, my maiden name, the states we were born in and a few other innocuous questions.  

I wondered if it were just the state she lives in, but when I did a 2 second internet search, I realized there is a recent story a news station in Utah did on this very topic...  (more of my chit-chat below the article).

The first minutes and hours after a baby is born can be some of the most important when it comes to bonding, yet most states now require new moms to answer more than 100 questions — much of which are no ones business.

 

“....Estabrooke has three daughters and knows what to expect when it comes to childbirth — or so she thought.

In February of this year, she gave birth to her third daughter. Everything went as planned until she left surgical recovery after a planned C-section at the University of Utah Hospital.

Back in labor and delivery, she was handed a stack of paperwork marked “required.” The forms had a deadline of eight hours. The forms were stamped with official codes from the Utah Department of Health, and in no uncertain terms stated the forms would need to be complete in order to receive a birth certificate.

Estabrooke, who, like most moms, was exhausted and adjusting to the new life she held in her arms, wanted to focus on healing and bonding. The last thing she wanted to do was paperwork.

She said she tried to avoid filling out the form entitled “Parent’s Worksheet to Register Birth Information” until she “got through the recovery, but the nurse kept coming back in and insisting I needed to fill it out immediately.”

As the deadline loomed, Estabrooke dug in to what she saw as none of the state’s business.

The first minutes and hours after a baby is born can be some of the most important when it comes to bonding, yet the state of Utah requires new moms to answer more than 100 questions — often within eight hours of giving birth.

“It asks a lot of personal medical information about the mother, including, 'did you use infertility treatments; did you use a sperm donor? If you didn't take prenatal vitamins — why didn't you?'” she said.

The list of questions goes on.

Have you been tested for zika? Did you have your teeth cleaned while pregnant? What about your weight at delivery?

Some questions that gave her more pause than others included “a lot of questions about previous births and pregnancies.” She said that “can be traumatizing if you have had miscarriages or lost children.”

Bottom line, Estabrooke said it felt “invasive,” but more importantly, “none of the state’s business.”

Estabrooke said she wasn't happy about the barrage of questions at the time, but felt she had no choice. She put her baby down, filled out the forms and handed them over in the time required.

“The fine print is really clear: if you don’t fill it out completely and accurately, you will not get a birth certificate,” she said.

Not getting a birth certificate is not an option for anyone who’d like their child to have a social security number, go to school, eventually get a driver license or a passport. For that reason, the forms are always filled out, even, like Estabrooke, begrudgingly.

Flash forward eight months, and the fog of new motherhood is gone. Baby Catherine is close to crawling, and Estabrooke is long since back to work.

What hasn’t changed for her is the aggravation over the state’s handling of Catherine’s birth certificate.

Estabrooke, who moved to Utah in 2014 to lead the state’s USTAR team, went first to the governor’s office where she’d been hired. She wanted to know where all her personal information went and how it was used.

That was in May, and with no answers, she went to the Attorney General’s office in July and again in September, both times with no response.

Estabrooke said she called the University of Utah as well, which put her in touch with the Utah Department of Health. Once in contact with UDOH, she said she “either got no response or a lot of push back and pat on the head of, 'don't worry, we will take good care of your information.'”

That's when KUTV started making calls, in search of answers not just for Estabrooke, but for every new mom in the state.

The health departments communication’s director, Tom Hudachko, confirmed they did have a new mom reach out “with some concerns.”

KUTV 2News set up a meeting, and that’s when we were able to start getting Estabrooke answers.

The first minutes and hours after a baby is born can be some of the most important when it comes to bonding, yet the state of Utah requires new moms to answer more than 100 questions — often within eight hours of giving birth. (KUTV)

Hudachko admitted there were issues with the paperwork, saying, “as we worked through her concerns, we came to the realization that the wording on it was likely a little too strong, and most of the information, or some, is not actually required.”

The form given to every new mom in Utah clearly states "required," but state officials admit it is not.

Hudachko said most of the information collected is for research used to help inform public health interventions.

Estabrooke said she understands why the state would want the treasure trove of information. She has a PhD in neuroscience, and as a researcher, understands the value of a near constant flow of data.

That information, while valuable, is not collected with clear consent.

“A violation of scientific ethics,” Estabrooke said, something the scientist understands to be very important.

The state apparently agrees, telling KUTV they are ready to gut the form.

Hudachko said the state will go over the longer form certificate in the next month and clearly identify what is and isn’t required.

New forms will be sent to hospitals and birthing centers clearly marked with what is required by law to receive a birth certificate and what information will be used for research.


U.S. birth certificate requirements:

  • Issued by the city, county, or state of birth
  • Lists applicant’s full name, date of birth, and place of birth
  • Lists parent(s)’ full names
  • Has the signature of the city, county, or state registrar
  • Has the date filed with registrar's office (must be within one year of birth)
  • Has the seal of issuing authority

The state, Hudachko said, will start asking permission for the information as soon as December, making much of it optional and allowing more time for parents to answer.

“The last thing we want to do is introduce stress into that type of situation,” Hudachko said.

As for the time requirements, those will change as well. Currently, UDOH sends out the forms to hospitals with a blank box where the hospital, up until now, could put a time limit on when the form needs to be finished.

The University of Utah, where Estabrooke gave birth, had an eight-hour requirement when she was given the forms. The time limit was in bold on the first page.

University hospital officials told KUTV that the eight hours is not a policy or requirement.

Instead, they said the “guideline our teams follow is to have the mom fill out the form before the patient is discharged. The form that said 'eight hours' is apparently a holdover from years past, but it’s not specifically enforced.”

Enforced or not, new moms see the “eight-hour” deadline as just that — a deadline and requirement. New mothers see it to be both a law and enforceable. Neither appears to be true.

So, what is the state doing with all the information it’s already collected? Tuesday on 2News at 10 p.m., we look at years' worth of data collected by the state. Is it sold, and if so, to who? And can parents have their information stripped from the system?"

 

 ______________________________________________

 

After I read the article I checked the follow up to see what the update was:    

 Tens of thousands of Utah moms are forced to fill out invasive forms hours after giving birth.

Thanks in part to a 2News investigation, the Utah Department of Health is changing the eight-page form with more than 100 questions.

 

".....Tom Hudachko with the Utah Department of Health said every new mom’s information is ultimately entered into a database at the health department. The data, he said, is governed by “strict statutes on who can access that information.”

Local, state and federal health agencies have access to the information, but that’s not all. Researchers can request the data collected from new mothers as well.

“If someone requests information to conduct a statistical analysis of a large group, we would release minimum information to fulfill the request,” Hudachko said. The state does not, however “release additional or identifiable information because it wouldn't be required.”

Estabrooke said she has proof that is not the case and worries who else her information may have been sold to.

She started getting emails asking for her to participate in a mental health study for new mothers. The email “said explicitly they got my information from the birth certificate filed, and that is an extreme violation of privacy.”

Hudachko said names and contact information are at times released when requested and needed for research. He said information from new moms is never sold, though the state does charge a fee for providing the information."

"....Hudachko explained that medical researchers who need contact information get it, but only after going through an "IRB," or institutional review board, which is standard in approving scientific studies.

State regulation would require review boards be held publicly — whether that is happening according to state code is not clear, nor is it clear if the information gathered should even be offered up for review.

Typically, when you release your personal information for a particular study, the release is not blanket permission for any and all research but would need to be signed off for each new project.

Hudachko said the state is working with attorneys now to clear up what new moms do need to answer in order to get a birth certificate. Likely, he said, the new questions would fall in line with what is required for a U.S. Birth Certificate. That would usually include parents’ full names, the city, county and state of birth and the signature of a registrar.

What UDOH won’t be doing is calling new moms.

While we don’t have the capacity to contact 50,000 birth moms every year, we will definitely by the end of the year be adding information to our website about this change and directing people to an email and phone number where, if they want their optional information removed from the data set, they can do that."

While the current birth certificate form has more than 100 questions, it has not always been this long. The state health department updates the from on a yearly basis and sent the following breakdown showing what questions have been added in recent years."

 

Added in 2016

  • Gestational surrogate checkbox
  • Father’s email address
  • E-cigarette questions
  • Treatment to keep baby from being born too early

Added in 2017

  • Mother tested for Zika
  • Father traveled outside of US in last 12 months
  • Father tested for Zika
  • Father’s signature

Added in 2018

  • Mother tested for HepB
  • Intended place of delivery
  • Mother transferred to hospital during labor but before delivery or within 24 hours of giving birth
  • Dental care during pregnancy

Added in 2019

  • Mother vitamins during pregnancy
  • Prenatal care provider/facility

 ___________________________________________________________

 

Here are some random screenshots from various states health department/hospital forms from around the country (I chose at random).  You can find links to the actual forms below.

 










































I know this is getting long so I'll just end it here even though I could really go on a pretty good rant and rave right about now... instead I will say that I did a few more quick, random internet checks and it seems that health departments all over the country, in almost all states received the same insane forms and are all just jumping on board the invasive-none-of-your-business train and....

Mother’s Worksheet for Child’s Birth Certificate (random states chosen and linked):


TEXAS:  (15 pages long!) https://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/partners/docs/forms/Parent-Worksheet-BirthCertificate-VS109.pdf

RHODE ISLAND:  https://health.ri.gov/forms/worksheets/MothersWorksheetForChildsBirthCertificate.pdf

NEBRASKA:  https://dhhs.ne.gov/Vital%20Records%20Documents/MothersWorksheet.pdf

CONNECTICUT:  https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Departments-and-Agencies/DPH/hisr/VR/MOTHERWORKSHEETREVISION012017pdf.pdf