ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — After years of effort by grieving parents, New York is beginning to issue “certificates of stillbirth.”

The certificates had long been tied up in heated debates over the legal definitions of a fetus and a child. But opposition by abortion rights groups ended when the name of the document was changed from “certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth.”

Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried says the measure taking effect Wednesday is intended to provide comfort, dignity and a document to families.

The most recent state data show there were 1,711 stillbirths in 2009. Stillbirth is a spontaneous death after 20 weeks gestation.

Families can also get the $30 certificate retroactively.

The law’s sponsors, Republican Sen. William Larkin and Democratic Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, say 28 other states offer the certificate.

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