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Unborn babies who die before 24 weeks gestation to receive recognition

The Government will introduce a pregnancy loss certificate for those who lose their babies before the 24th week of gestation.

As part of a new initiative that will require medical students to pass mandatory training to diagnose and treat women’s health conditions, the Government is also introducing a certificate to provide legal recognition for women whose babies die within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

If a baby dies in the womb and is delivered after 24 weeks, his or her death is registered as a stillbirth. However, if the baby dies before then, the baby does not receive a death certificate and is registered as a miscarriage.

The new measure was unveiled in the Government’s first women’s health strategy for England.

“[I]t has finally been recognised that a child born before 24 weeks deserves the acknowledgement that any other human being receives”

According to the Independent, around 14 babies die before, during or soon after birth in the UK every day, but campaigners have long warned the issue is routinely ignored by society and remains a taboo.

Speaking on behalf of the Lily Mae Foundation, which supports families impacted by a baby’s death, Amy Jackson said they were pleased “it has finally been recognised that a child born before 24 weeks deserves the acknowledgement that any other human being receives”.

She added: “To many of our families who have sadly lost a baby before 24 weeks, this small gesture will mean the world, and provide recognition that their precious baby existed”.

“To discriminate between gestations only serves to belittle a loss before 24 weeks and we at the Lily Mae Foundation truly believe that a loss is devastating no matter what the gestation. The loss of an entire lifetime of hopes and dreams”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Children who die in the womb, both before and after 24 weeks gestation, deserve legal recognition, no matter the circumstances of their death. The lives of unborn babies matter regardless of their gestational age”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.