Just when you thought leaving it behind at the hospital was the only option for your afterbirth…..

Pretty much everyone in the Oregon Legislature is all about HB2612—a bill that allows postpartum moms to take their placentas home with them.

The thing is, some people have already been taking their disposable organs home, breaking the law without knowing it. “I think this was a huge shock to everyone” says Representative Allisa Keny-Guyer (D) regarding the legality of placenta custody. Patients aren’t allowed to keep “medical waste” of any kind as souvenirs, but many hospitals have been making the exception for placentas because the language of the law is so unclear.

A placenta is the iron-rich sack of flesh that nourishes a baby in the womb. It allows mother and child to trade nutrients for poop (thanks again, Mom!). From the Latin for cake, the placenta is round and flat. Also, most mammals eat them post birth. Some humans do, too. Moms have been known to fry it up like a steak (most likely with some fava beans and a light Chianti), or pay one of several businesses that will cook, dehydrate, and pulverize a placenta, and then put the resulting powder into capsules you can swallow.

Many cultures have rituals and traditions regarding placentas. Some believe eating the self-made nutrients help aid in lactation, boost energy, and aid postpartum depression. It’s also common to bury it and plant a tree on top to represent new life. Apparently you can also make art and jewelry and drums out of it too.

Mmmm eat me! - placenta 2013
  • "Mmmm eat me!" - placenta 2013

On the Senate floor Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward said “it’s a pretty straightforward bill, it’s safe, let’s do this.” And they did. The measure passed unanimously in the Senate today, following last week’s unanimous approval by the House.

The original bill prohibited selling the placenta, but the amended language puts the guidelines into the hands of the Oregon Health Authority. They can put that part in or not, since they’re in charge of all the logistics of the regulation.

On an equally gross note, today the House Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on a bill that would make spitting on a police officer a felony.

SB 482-A adds “saliva” to the existing list of bodily fluids that cannot be propelled at public safety officers. Blood, urine, semen, and feces are already offenses, and considered to be aggravated assault, which is a Class C felony.

It’s being pitched as a public health concern. “Assault by bodily fluids” originated in correctional facilities. Often times inmates’ only means of attack was to aim their loogies into officers’ eyes or mouths, hoping to infect them with disease.

Brian DeLashmutt represents the Oregon Police Officer’s Association. He contends this type of assault is now happening on the streets, too, and this bill is “about the health and safety of public safety officers”. He says officers could easily be infected with hepatitis or AIDS if they experience this type of attack.

The bill only covers spitting “on,” not just “at.” Meaning spitting would become an offense only if someone actually connected with an officer.