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Mothers who lost children to stillbirth question why N.J. law to track deaths has stalled

One by one, in often emotional and blunt testimony, mothers who lost children to stillbirth questioned why nothing appears to have been done to put into practice a law that requires state health officials to track such deaths and mandates that hospitals treat families with sensitivity.

They came away without many answers after a Senate Health Committee hearing where state health officials — the people charged with implementing the 2-year-old law — weren’t invited.

“People come up to me and say … I haven’t even heard of this bill,” said Debra Haine, a Maplewood woman about a law named after her stillborn daughter that was signed by Governor Christie in January 2014.

“It’s very sad. I’ve come across people who think that this is a beautiful, amazing piece of legislation,” Haine said Monday after testifying before the Senate Health Committee. “But [they say] there have never been any regulations given to us … so we don’t know what direction we’re supposed to go.”

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PHOTO: Debra Haine of Maplewood listens to testimony during a hearing Monday, March 7, 2016. Photographed by Kevin R. Wexler.