COURT RULING: Death Certificate Must Be Changed

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A Polk County district court judge has ruled the Iowa Department of Public Health must make a change to a death certificate form after a lawsuit was filed by a same-sex Iowa couple.

Jessica and Jennifer Buntemeyer are married and live in Dubuque. They filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Public Health after it left off Jennifer’s name from the death certificate of their son Brayden, who was stillborn.

Jessica carried the baby and was listed as “mother” on the form and Jennifer filled out the information for “father” because there were no other options. When they received the death certificate, Jennifer’s name was omitted.

Judge Robert Hutchison’s ruling read,” It is therefore the ordered that the Iowa Department of Public Health shall modify the form for a Certificate of Fetal Death to permit the registration of both petitioners here as a parents. The Department shall amend the parental information on Brayden Buntemeyer’s Certificate of Fetal Death consistent with order.”

The couple filed the lawsuit with the help of Lambda Legal.


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