A move to declare placentas "infectious waste" angered Hawaiians who use the placenta in religious ceremonies, highlighting the conflict between modern medicine and traditional culture.
A law now guarantees women the right to take the placenta home.
Lilikala Kameeleihiwa, HONOLUL U (WOMENSENEWS) --To some, it's simply a byproduct of childbirth, a biological waste. To others, it's even a possible source of biological material for genetic research. But to those of Polynesian and some African and Asian cultures, the placenta is sacred. In a transformation of an issue that was once a private matter between a woman and her doctor, the placenta became a political issue in Hawaii this spring, and its ramifications could spread to other states. Following an uproar from Native Hawaiians after the state declared placenta tissue an infectious waste in 2005, the Aloha State has become the first in the nation to expressly give a woman permission to take the placenta home from the hospital following childbirth. Read the full article at the link above.