Today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – a day for parents, families and friends to memorialise babies lost through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death.
In 2018, 2,419 lives were lost due to stillbirth or newborn death and it is estimated that one in four pregnancies result in miscarriage – that is 103,000 every year.
Today is a day to honour those babies who lose their lives each year as well as a time for their families to grieve.
Pregnancy loss is a devastating tragedy for thousands of Australian families which leads to ongoing heartache and grievance – grief that takes place in homes, behind closed doors, and is often solitary.
This grief has been made more difficult by the COVID pandemic with families separated due to social distancing requirements and people removed from their usual support networks.
Labor pays tribute to the parents and families who have been unable to bring their babies home from hospital, or who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a baby shortly after birth.
This year, landmarks around Australia will be lit up in pink and blue to show Australian families that they are not alone in their grief and that support is out there.
Since last year’s day of remembrance, Australia has made some progress in its ability to provide crucial support to those impacted by pregnancy and infant loss.
These changes include the introduction of legislation to equalise unpaid parental leave entitlements for all parents, including those of stillborn babies, as well as the announcement to streamline support payments for bereaved families.
At the same time as supporting those who have suffered such a loss, we must continue all possible efforts to reduce the rate of pregnancy and infant loss.
The scale of this tragedy must spur Australia into a concerted effort – including support for those impacted by the higher rates of pregnancy loss and infant death, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and those in our remote communities.
Labor remains committed to elevating the prominence and priority of reducing pregnancy and infant loss as we continue to support Australian families, friends and loved ones who have endured this incomparable grief.
CHRIS BOWEN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
MEMBER FOR MCMAHON
SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
SENATOR MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY
CHAIR, SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON STILLBIRTH RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
SENATOR CATRYNA BILYK
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA