Vital records law to change on July 1

Vital records law to change on July 1
Beginning July 1, parents who experience a stillbirth will be able to request a certificate of birth resulting in a stillbirth, thanks to legislation passed during the 2007 session. Under current statute, the Department of Health issues a fetal death certificate, which is combination of the birth and death record, when there is a stillbirth.

"During testimony parents of stillborn infants made clear that as part of the grieving process, they wanted a document that reflected the birth of their child, not just the death," said Kathlene Mueller, state vital registrar for the department. "For that reason, certificates of birth resulting in a still birth will be available for any fetal death already on file in our office."

Mueller said the certificate for birth resulting in a stillbirth will be issued only at the state level, not at county registers of deeds offices. Processing time will be required, particularly for older records. Application forms are available at http://vitalrecords.sd.gov.


Another vital records law change going into effect July 1 will allow customers to request a list of marriage records. Each register of deeds can provide a list of marriages for the licenses issued by that county with the state able to provide a full list. The list will include name, age, residence and place of marriage for marriages occurring after July 1, 2007. There is no charge for the list.

Access to the indexes was restricted in 2005 in expectation of federal regulations resulting from the national Intelligence and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004 directing states to limit access to vital records, including marriage records. Because the federal government has yet to issue those regulations, access was restored.

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