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  • Writer's pictureSandy Glenn, LM MBC



Did you know that Birth Certificates (BC) and social security cards are a voluntary enrollment? The choice to get a Birth Certificate for your baby is complicated and requires extensive self-education. South Carolina Licensed Midwife regulations say,

“The midwife shall assure that the registration of the baby’s birth with the County Health Department is made within five days of birth. “

So, yes a midwife must register that a baby has been born, but what you decide to provide or allow is a personal decision. Did you know that you can also choose to register your baby for a birth certificate but decline the Social Security card?

Here’s how birth certificate registration works at CWB.

The day your baby is born, you will be offered two types of identification forms. You’re given the state issued Mother’s Worksheet which identifies the mother and baby. If the mother is

married and chooses to provide that information, it also identifies the father. It can identify the father for unmarried couples if the mother and father both sign the paternity acknowledgment forms.

You will also be given the Testament of Birth form. This is a footprint form that declares, “The parents attach the souls of this child to commemorate the birth and welcome them into the light.” This form will have the birth date, time, parents, and parental domiciled area for your son or daughter. It will be notarized by the same certifier who electronically releases any state Certificate of Live Birth forms. The Testament will have a raised seal and you will be given the wet-ink original.

The information provided on the Mother’s Worksheet is electronically entered into the state database and then certified electronically by a CWB representative. The original Mother's Worksheet is kept by the midwife for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. If a Paternity Acknowledgement Form is being submitted, that original is mailed to the Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC) Registration in Columbia and a copy is kept by CWB.

If you are not registering your baby’s name on a Birth Certificate, the Testament can be used as a record. Family Bibles can also be used as a record.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

In addition to the identifying data on a Birth Certificate, NCHS also collects birth data. This is how we learn things like what percentage of women in a certain age or ethnic group have preterm babies. The data has race, number of prenatal care visits, primary payment types, birth vaccine choices, breastfeeding options, weight gain and much more. This personal information is supposed to be separated from any identifiers by DHEC and used for data collection purposes only.

What does it mean to not have a state issued Birth Certificate?

If choose to not put your baby's name on a BC, but decide to that you want to get one later it can be a lot more difficult. You are given 12 months to remedy any deficiencies in registration. Within this time, corrections can be made at the local Health Department. Beyond 12 months, a court order might become necessary. Three forms of identifying the baby’s birth, parentage and actual location of birth will be needed. Physician or midwife records, PKU and vaccine records are some of the forms of identification that can be used.

When you register your baby’s BC, you are registering them as a Federal or United States Citizen. Some of the benefits of citizenship include:

  • Public Education

  • Medicaid/Medicare programs

  • Driver’s License

  • Voter’s Registration

  • Military Draft

  • Welfare and SNAP food programs

  • IRS tax deductions

You probably already know that the list above are primarily voluntary programs, so the questions arise about being able to exist within your community without being a registered US citizen.

There is a lot of readily available information regarding the above listed benefits, but choosing to decline those benefits takes a lot of personal research and properly recorded documentation. Obviously, a child can go to private school or home school without a birth certificate. It’s also my understanding that in order for a person to drive without a state issued driver’s license, they can use a passport acquired as a state national. If IRS taxes apply to you but your child is not registered, you will not be able to deduct them on your yearly tax returns.

What about other Certificate of Live Birth forms?

CWB is happy to help you with any forms that you provide declaring the birth of the baby into your family. This would include family Bibles or families operating under religious marriages.

Thank you for taking the time to research and understand your baby’s right. Always Remember that Freedom is Responsibility.

Sandy Glenn, LM MBC

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