For Release: 10 October 2007
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is calling on Northern Territory parliamentarians to give bipartisan support to a private member’s bill, which would enable birth and death certificates to be issued for babies miscarried earlier than 20 weeks into a pregnancy if the mother requests it.
The call follows the tragic situation earlier this year where a Darwin mother who miscarried at 17 weeks was not given the choice to give her baby a proper burial because no birth or death certificates are issued for stillborn babies of less than 20 weeks’ gestation.
ACL Northern Territory Chief of Staff Lois Fong said the Northern Territory Parliament needs to ensure that this very distressing situation is never repeated.
“Our hearts go out to Fiona Peters and her partner Craig Redriff in the ordeal they have suffered. To see the fingernails on the baby’s hands and then be told that he wasn’t entitled to a proper burial is just not right,” Mrs Fong said.
Northern Territory Deputy Opposition Leader Terry Mills is planning to introduce a private member’s bill into Parliament today which would allow mothers who have miscarriages in hospital prior to 20 weeks to make a request to the Minister for a birth and death certificate. If the miscarriage occurs at home then a doctor has to sign off on the request.
“Fiona and Craig, and any other parents who find themselves in a similar situation in the future, should have the right to request a birth and death certificate and be given the choice to bury their baby in a dignified way.”
“We congratulate Terry Mills for introducing this bill and the Parliament for considering it. We’re urging all Northern Territory parliamentarians to support the bill and ensure it has a speedy passage so that more people aren’t place in this dreadful situation,” Mrs Fong said.
Media Contact: Lois Fong on 0417 200 464
Email: [email protected]