Like a lot of pregnant women, Jordan Thiering of Brandon, Mississippi wants to keep her placenta after giving birth. After learning about the health benefits of eating the placenta (which are not yet scientifically proven but may include an increase in energy as well as milk production), Thiering called the hospital where she planned to deliver to let them know her plans. That's when she learned that in order to be allowed to keep her placenta, she'd need a court order. Great, just another thing to add to the "Getting Ready For Baby" list.
The hospital told Thiering that it was an issue with the Mississippi Department of Health. According to a memo written by state epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs and obtained by The Clarion-Ledger, the placenta is technically defined as "medical waste." The memo says that "no hospital or other facility may release non-infectious medical waste (including placental tissue) without there first having been obtained by a court order, or other judicial mandate, which will assure proper disposal by the release."
Thiering was understandably frustrated. She wrote about her situation in a Facebook post, and was contacted by Jacqueline Hammack, an attorney who specializes in women's health issues. While Hammock had never dealt with (or even heard of) the legal implications of keeping one's placenta, she wanted to help. While she had no placenta to give Thiering, she was happy to provide legal assistance.
I told her I would love to help her out, that this was a crazy thing she was experiencing. Placenta release was a new endeavor for me but I read the law, talked to her, got all the pertinent facts and I made a petition that I hoped would be sufficient and it was.
It was pretty simple but totally unnecessary in my opinion to need any of that. I don’t think it’s right for someone who has no experience to dictate what a woman can do with her body…he’s not a woman. He shouldn’t have a right to dictate what I can do with my body. It’s your body part and no matter what women want to do with it, it’s their right to have it. . . I grew my baby, I grew my placenta. There should be no one that can tell me what I can or can’t do with it.
Hammack says she hopes their success will make it easier for other women who want to keep their own placentas, for whatever reason. After all, women don't usually have to get a court order to keep the baby that came with that placenta.