News10NBC Investigates: NY’s Paid Family Leave law is “emotional slap in face” to mothers of stillborns

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Earlier this month, a News10NBC investigation exposed a gap in New York’s Paid Family Leave. The law completely ignores the mothers of stillborn babies.

Now we have another example of how this oversight leaves families behind.

Cassidy Crough, born and raised in Irondequoit and Webster, says her pregnancy was grueling but her baby was always healthy.

In March, she went for a routine check-up at 36 weeks. “When we went in, um, we learned she had no heartbeat,” Crough said.

Crough was in labor for 16 hours before she gave birth to her daughter Olivia.

“Having to walk out of the hospital empty-handed was just I think, quite frankly, the worst thing that could happen to someone in a pregnancy,” she said.

A day after Olivia’s funeral, Crough says New York State canceled her paid family leave. “The best time in my life became the worst time in my life,” said Samantha Palermo.

In July, Palermo of Spencerport gave birth to her stillborn son Archer. Like Crough, Palermo’s paid family leave was also dropped.

Brean: “It’s as if the system says we’re sorry, but go back to work the next day.”

Samantha Palermo: “Yeah. Too bad. So sad. Carry on.”

Brean: “What do you think is the solution here?”

Crough: “We need to focus on fixing the gap that it in the law currently. Let’s add stillbirths because a father has a right to heal but so does the woman who gave birth.”

There are 60 stillbirths in this country every day.

Crough, an attorney in New York, says state senate bill S9492 is change New Yorkers should support. It passed the state Senate unanimously but didn’t get through the Assembly. Unlike another bill in the senate which includes miscarriages and abortions, bill 9424 by Sen. Tim Kennedy simply “Provides for paid family leave after a stillbirth.”

“The way New York treats stillbirth parents, especially mothers is an emotional slap in the face in your darkest hours,” Crough said.

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