A move that could save the lives of unborn children is being opposed by British abortion giant BPAS.
Bereaved parents want a change to the law so that full-term stillbirths are investigated by a coroner, and the Government says it supportive of such a move.
But BPAS claimed stillbirth should merely be treated in law as a “negative outcome in the pregnant woman’s care”.
In 2016, 936 full-term and ‘post-term’ stillbirths were recorded in England and Wales – a number the Government wants to see reduced.
Earlier this year, ministers consulted on introducing a coroner investigation for the “tragedy” of a full-term stillbirths.
It is considering doing more to learn about why stillbirths occur, in order to prevent such heartbreak in the future.
But in its consultation response, BPAS railed against the idea, suggesting it could lead to fewer abortions.
BPAS said “foetal demise” should not be referred to as “death” because the child did not have legal personhood status.
It also claimed that a change risked “undermining the uncontested legal understanding that a stillborn child remains part of its mother”.
The group said a woman should not have a coronal stillbirth investigation for “something which legally happened to her”.
Caroline Tully, who lost a child because of stillbirth, criticised BPAS: “Their move could come at a cost to the lives of unborn babies, by allowing unsafe practices to go unchecked.”
Michelle Hemmington’s son died within 30 minutes of being born in 2011. She said: “This change could save babies’ lives.”
The Government is supporting investigations for full-term and post-term stillbirths, saying this gives the best potential to identify causes.
It could then lead to changes “that could reduce the risk of similar stillbirths”.
In September 2018, a law was passed allowing parents who suffer the loss of a child through stillbirth to receive paid bereavement leave.
The law covers the deaths of children from 24 weeks into a pregnancy up to 18 years old, and requires employers to grant two weeks’ paid leave.