Legislation pending in Virginia threatens families’ rights to hold home funerals, proposed by a Senator who gasp is also a funeral director.
And who stands to directly benefit, along with his cronies, from such an unreasonable and unsupportable restriction of the current rights of citizens.
Watch and learn:
For further information: an op-ed explaining various angles (and the realities of the risks) of home funerals .
Specifically, from the article:
Legal requirements that human remains must be embalmed or refrigerated after death are classic examples of industry rent-seeking. By requiring “refrigeration,” particularly at a specific temperature, rather than simply permitting cooling via dry ice or other means, these states place heavy burdens on families and religious communities that want to care for remains at home.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that “[t]here is no direct risk of contagion or infectious disease from being near human remains for people who are not directly involved … handling dead bodies.” The CDC further advises that those directly handling human remains can protect themselves from potential bacteria and viruses by wearing gloves and washing their hands. “The sight and smell of decay are unpleasant,” the CDC advises, “but they do not create a public health hazard.” The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees. “The widespread belief that corpses pose a major health risk is inaccurate. Especially if death resulted from trauma, bodies are very unlikely to cause outbreaks of diseases…” The WHO also advises that “[d]ead or decayed human bodies do not generally create a serious health hazard, unless they are polluting sources of drinking-water…”
But if Sen. Alexander from Virginia has his way, all that medical opinion and fact around dead body care won’t matter–that you are required by law to buy (expensive) refrigeration from a funeral home will be the only fact in play.
And don’t think for a minute that legislators bought and paid for by big funeral conglomerates and lobbying groups don’t have a list of states to try and push this kind of robbery through next…
Shocked? Angry? I sure am! So what can we do?
- Sign the Change.org petition requesting the governor not sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.
- If you live in Virginia, contact your congresswomen immediately to let them know of your opposition to this bill, as it’s currently in committee in the house. Also, contact your governor and let your displeasure be heard there as well.
- If you live elsewhere, keep a watchful eye in your own state for attempts to pass ridiculous rules such as these. In Delaware, recent changes make it a misdemeanor to share information about funeral home pricing with anyone else with the intent to direct their business. Never mind that you legally have to be given the information for free when you ask–if you share it with anyone else, you are a criminal.
- Consider joining your local chapter of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, and/or supporting the national body as well. This watchdog group of advocates leads the charge on keeping the industry from instituting unfair and unethical practices on grieving consumers.
Any questions? Have a thought to share? Call me, or leave a note here, and let’s talk!