The Camp Lejeune Elective Option Ignores Babies Who Died
Parents are voicing their dismay, asserting that the Navy's elective option should cover stillbirths and miscarriages
Monday, December 4, 2023 - The Navy's recent introduction of a new Elective Option, which offers an immediate payout for some people who have suffered a specific type of cancer, has stirred controversy, particularly for its perceived oversight concerning incidences of miscarriage and stillbirths. This decision has left thousands of parents grappling with the anguish of losing a child disheartened, as their experiences seem to be marginalized within the context of this elective program. The omission of miscarriages and stillbirths from the Camp Lejeune elective option has sparked concern among advocacy groups and individuals who emphasize the need for comprehensive support for parents navigating the harrowing journey of pregnancy loss. Critics argue that overlooking such traumatic events fails to acknowledge the profound emotional toll they take on families and contradicts the principles of inclusivity and sensitivity.
In the face of this controversy, many parents are voicing their dismay, asserting that the Navy's elective option should encompass a more empathetic and understanding approach to cater to the diverse experiences of its members. About 2 dozen women who spent the required amount of time on Camp Lejeune while pregnant and subsequently suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth were interviewed by WRAL news recently. They concluded as a group that the Marine Corps "soft-pedaled" their warning that the water was contaminated and should not be ingested. It was not until the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in August 2022 that these women began to suspect that their infant's death could be attributed to drinking tap water. Hundreds of children have been buried at the local Camp Lejeune cemetery which is referred to as "Baby Heaven." According to WRAL, " Records indicate hundreds of babies are buried in a cemetery near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where NBC News' Cynthia McFadden met a group of women still grieving and looking for justice. The women and up to 1 million people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune may have been exposed, to contaminated drinking water between 1953 and 1987. The government acknowledges that among the serious health conditions from the toxic water is female infertility, miscarriage and potentially deadly birth defects. NBC News spoke with dozens of marines and military wives -- now seniors -- who all lost pregnancies and babies. They said no one has been held accountable for decades of loss."
Women who were at Camp Lejeune should file a Camp Lejeune Justice Act claim for lump-sum monetary compensation. If their claims are denied or ignored for six months they may wish to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit seeking to hold the federal government accountable for their loss. Advocates for change are urging a reconsideration of the program's criteria, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the unique family suffering caused by having to undergo a miscarriage or stillbirth. The debate underscores the broader societal shift toward recognizing and addressing the emotional complexities surrounding pregnancy loss.