Delegate Cosgrove has been very polite, and we have exchanged three very respectful emails this weekend. I appreciate his willingness to engage in dialogue, and I am eager to continue this exchange. I think participatory democracy is a very positive thing, and to the extent to which Mr. Cosgrove is willing to correspond about this bill with concerned citizens during this very busy time in his legislative office, he is to be commended.
But I do have problems with what he is saying to people - that this site is making "allegations" based on a "misunderstanding" of his bill. Likewise, I know he has a problem with my decision not to remove the original "miscarriage" scenario from this site, even after hearing from him that he did not intend for the bill to apply to miscarriages.
One problem is this, as reported by "Elizabeth" in comments, just one example of the power of additive research done by others in the blogosphere.
In 2003, Delegate Cosgrove introduced a similar bill titled "Duty to report childbirth." The summary reads:
Duty to report childbirth. Provides that any woman who gives birth without the assistance of a health care professional after more than 24 weeks have elapsed since the beginning of her last menstrual period and who, though she is reasonably able to do so, fails to report the birth, whether a live birth or stillbirth, within 12 hours of the event, to the local sheriff, police department or fire department is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Why, after crafting a bill that narrowly defines reporting requirements to births and stillbirths past 24 weeks' gestation, would a new bill be introduced this year that includes the much more expansive concept of "fetal death"?
More additive research by bloggers is bringing additional perspective to the story. Check out Ema's impressive work at The Well-Timed Period - she has spoken with representatives of the Chesapeake Police Department, and also brings her extensive medical knowledge to her interpretation of Delegate Cosgrove's response in Delegate Cosgrove: Don't Relax Just Yet.
The power of the Internet is that you don't have to rest on my inerpretation, or Ema's, or Delegate Cosgrove's, or any one of the thousands of blogs that have linked to this story and developed their own interpretations. You have links to the primary sources yourself. You decide.