Snopes fact-checker calls out false claims; House Bill 118 would not require a death certificate or place any fines on women who have a miscarriage.

Members of Pennsylvania’s pro-abortion lobby, State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), U.S. Senate candidate Val Arkoosh, and Planned Parenthood have spread false accusations against State Representative Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) and his legislation, the Unborn Child Dignity Act, that wrongly claim women would be forced to pay fines and obtain a death certificate for having a miscarriage; which is completely inaccurate.

“It’s shameful to see politicians and lobbyists make blatantly false statements about what this bipartisan bill would do,” says Alexis Stefani, Communications and Policy Officer for Pennsylvania Family Institute. “The confusion these opponents have spread is a disservice to the people of Pennsylvania, particularly to the parents this bill would help serve.”

The misinformation has been spread by many pro-abortion outlets:

  • Rep. Dan Frankel, in claiming to clarify the legislation during the House Health Committee vote on May 25th, purported to refute the claim of burial and cremation being optional to parents and erroneously suggested the legislation “requires burial and a death certificate after ending pregnancy loss or termination.” There is no such requirement. Rep. Frankel went on to claim that death certificates were specifically mentioned in the legislation, yet there is no mention of death certificates in the bill. HB118 does not change existing Pennsylvania law on the matter.
  • Val Arkoosh, Montgomery County Commissioner and candidate for U.S. Senate, repeated made false claims that the legislation would “punishes women who have had a miscarriage or an abortion, forcing them to fill out and pay for a death certificate.” This seems more like a shameful social-media publicity stunt to boost her campaign than anything related to the content of the bill.
  • The abortion industry – including Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (the political arm of the state’s largest abortion provider) and Philadelphia Women’s Center (responsible for more abortion than any other on-site abortion clinic – over 6,000 abortions every year) incorrectly reported the bill “requires patients to obtain a death certificate after experiencing miscarriage or having an abortion.”

“State Representative Frank Ryan, and the people of Pennsylvania, deserve an apology from these pro-abortion politicians for spreading these false claims in attempts to stop a sensible, compassionate bill from advancing,” says Tom Shaheen, Vice President for Policy at Pennsylvania Family Institute.

Even Snopes, the liberal-leaning fact checking site, said these claims by the abortion lobby are false. “Pennsylvania law does not require patients themselves to register fetal deaths, or file, obtain or pay for a fetal death certificate, and it does not fine them for having a miscarriage. The bill would not introduce such legal requirements.”

The Unborn Child Dignity Act, introduced by State Rep. Frank Ryan, would require healthcare facilities to give parents the option of burial or cremation after the death of their unborn child. Hospital policies vary, but too often babies that are miscarried or aborted are treated as “medical hazardous waste” and not as a human being.

Last legislative session, the Unborn Child Dignity Act received a bipartisan majority vote in the PA House (Roll call: 123-76) but was never voted upon in the PA Senate. 

This legislation made national headlines when former State Representative Wendy Ullman (D-Bucks) said during committee debate that an early miscarriage is just “some mess on a napkin.” 

“An unborn child who tragically dies from a miscarriage is not hazardous medical waste but a deceased human being and parents deserve to have healthcare facilities treating their baby with dignity,” commented retired Judge Cheryl Allen with the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

Pennsylvania Family Institute thanks State Representative Frank Ryan for his leadership in advancing the compassionate Unborn Child Dignity Act and encourages its swift passage by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Take Action: Ask your State Representative and State Senator to support the Unborn Child Dignity Act – to send an email, use our Citizen Action Center: click here or go to