Campaign to Change Laws over Stillbirth Investigations

  • 07-07-10


By Nicole Ballinger

Whether a baby dies from miscarriage, stillbirth or perinatal causes, bereaved parents often find it hard to process their grief when they don’t know what caused their baby’s death. It can really ‘haunt’ them, and they continue to re-live the tragedy of pregnancy and infant loss through PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). So knowing the cause is often very beneficial to one’s ability to overcome this tragedy.


Yet in Australia, the State Coroner can not conduct an inquest into the death of an unborn baby. A petition has now been launched with the aim to change these laws.


Australia’s Myf Maywald launched this petition. In 2009, Myf lost her baby when she was seven months’ pregnant. The hospital began its own investigation to find out what went wrong. But Myf also wanted the State Coroner to conduct an independent review into the death.


Myf was stunned to find out that this could not be done -- because, in the eyes of the law, her baby had not been considered a living person: the law currently defines a living person as someone removed from their mother's womb and shown to be alive. So at present, the State Coroner can not look into why a baby dies during pregnancy or labour.


“I was quite shocked,” recalls Myf. “I couldn't imagine why, for all intents and purposes, my child was a person to me and her death was important and stopping deaths like it occurred to me as equally important … I think it's related to an archaic sense of personhood and a time when people expected deaths particularly during birth and with babies.”


Myf has launched a petition that calls for the Coroner to be allowed to investigate the death of a baby seven months into pregnancy.


Groups like the Teddy Love Club and SANDS (Stillbirth and Neo Natal Death Support) help parents who have lost babies. They have extended their support for this campaign.


Rosie Reschke of SANDS, says: “Its really doesn't matter whether that baby took a breath or not. To them [the parents] it was their hopes, dreams and aspirations that have been taken from them. So they are grieving the loss of their child which is extremely painful.”


The AMA (Australian Medical Association) also believes the Coroner should be allowed to investigate any death during the birth process. “In any situation, we should be able to investigate the causes of death because in an ideal world there will be no deaths during the birthing process,” says Dr. Lavender of the AMA.


The South Australian Opposition government is now proposing a parliamentary inquiry.

Iain Evans MP says: “The Parliament, I think, should listen to what the Coroner has to say, listen to the medical evidence, listen to the grieving families and then make a proper judgment based on that evidence.” Whether the inquiry goes ahead will be debated by Parliament this September.


For the full report, read more


Source: Stateline South Australia, 2 July 2010

Email to Friend

Fill in the form below to send this news item to a friend:

Email to Friend
* Your Name:
* Your Email:
* Friend's Name:
* Friend's Email:
* Security Image:
Security Image Generate new
Copy the numbers and letters from the security image
* Message:

All News

Update on Getting 15 Oct official across Australia

  • News Item
  • October 30, 2011

You can Help get Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day Declared: it’s quick and easy! Latest update here

October 15 Now Official in NSW Australia

  • News Item
  • October 15, 2011

Aligning with the USA and parts of Canada, October 15th has now been declared as an official remembrance day in NSW Australia

Campaign for Rights of Stillborn Babies

  • News Item
  • August 20, 2011

Exciting developments in UK Parliament as the campaign grows: to have birth certificates issued for stillborn babies

Birth Certificates for Stillborn Babies

  • News Item
  • July 13, 2011

Effective Sept. 5th, 2011: Pennsylvania to issue Birth Certificates for Stillborn Babies



New, Ground-Breaking Film about Miscarriage

  • News Item
  • June 9, 2011

A film that lends a voice to all women who grieve silently, after losing a baby to miscarriage

Online Support for TTTS

  • News Item
  • May 30, 2011

Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome is a devastating pre-natal condition that often causes the death of one or both babies. A new online support group for parents affected by TTTS is now available.

New Study: No Need to Wait to Try Again...?

  • News Item
  • October 9, 2010

New study finds that women who get pregnant again within six months after a miscarriage, might have better reproductive outcomes than women who wait longer

Memorial Service on Oct 10th

  • News Item
  • September 5, 2010

A special service to honour babies who have died to miscarriage, stillbirth, antenatal causes, etc

Campaign to Change Laws over Stillbirth Investigations

  • News Item
  • July 7, 2010

Petition launched in Australia: for the State Coroner to be allowed to investigate the causes of stillborn births. Support extended by members of the AMA, Parliament, and support groups for bereaved parents.


  • News Item
  • April 6, 2010
Late breaking news is added here regularly, so please visit this section again soon. If you have a news item you wish to have us publish, please send it to us. We  welcome all submisions, and thank you for your support.

SIDS: Is Hope Finally on the Horizon?

  • News Item
  • March 22, 2010

empty_crib__250.jpgBy Nicole Ballinger

According to a recent report in The Journal of the American Medical Association, a team of doctors from the Children’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School conducted autopsies of 41 babies who died from SIDS and other causes. The result was the detection of brain abnormalities in SIDS victims (sudden infant death syndrome).

These researchers found abnormalities in the victims’ nerve cells that make and use serotonin. Serotonin is thought to help coordinate breathing and sensitivity to carbon dioxide. When babies sleep face down, it is believed they breathe in exhaled carbon monoxide, taking in less oxygen. A rise in carbon dioxide activates nerve cells in the brainstem, to stop most babies from asphyxiating.

But the researchers believe that a baby who dies from SIDS has defects in his or her serotonin system, which impairs the reflex to wake up and turn over.

These doctors now hope to develop a diagnostic test to identify infants at risk for SIDS. They also hope to develop a treatment to protect infants who have these abnormalities.

Read more here

Once Again, Support for IPIL Day from BOTH Sides of Parliament House

  • News Item
  • February 26, 2010
by Nicole BallingerHaving Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day declared across Australia came one step closer to reality this week. My husband and I were the guests of our MP, Mrs Joanna Gash, to witness this historic debate. But actuall...

A Charity that Helps Parents, Friends, Families & Professionals

  • News Item
  • December 27, 2009
By Nicole BallingerIf your baby has died through miscarriage, stillbirth or neo natal death, you have our sincere condolences. Here at PILARI, most of our contributing authors have all shared this same tragedy: we know, first hand, how shattering ...

Sharing our Hope Helps Us to Heal

  • News Item
  • November 15, 2009
By Nicole Ballinger “The only cure for grief is action” -- G. H. Lewes, Psychologist Last Friday I got a phone call from author, Helen Abbott. Helen read here about the momentum being gained for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day to be offi...

Unanimous Vote in Parliament to support Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

  • News Item
  • November 4, 2009
By Nicole Ballinger“In my opinion this is one of the most important motions to be debated since my election” - Dr Andrew McDonald MP (NSW Labor Party) and paediatrician. “Miracles do happen!” announced my MP, Shelley Hancock (NSW Liberal Party). I...

A Remembrance Service for Australians and Visitors to Australia

  • News Item
  • October 20, 2009
by Nicole Ballinger‘Remembering Our Babies' is a special memorial service for mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and friends who have ever suffered from the loss of a baby or infant through miscarriage, stillbirth or any other cause. Ti...

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

  • News Item
  • October 12, 2009
By Terra-Lynn Coggan The "Lights of Love" International Wave of Light is a  "Bear Care Campaign” initiative. This event sees people  from around the world participating, starting at 1900 hours on October 15th in all time zones. Participa...

Rate of Premature Births Dramatically Increases

  • News Item
  • October 5, 2009
By Nicole BallingerAccording to CBC News (Canada) yesterday, a reported 13 million babies are born prematurely each year worldwide, and one million of them die.     The March of Dimes Foundation aims to improve the health of babies,...

New Test for Pregnancy Complications being Developed

  • News Item
  • July 2, 2009
By Nicole BallingerA test that could reduce the risk of pregnancy loss is now under development. Researchers at the University of Adelaide (Australia) are developing a new, genetic test that can predict which women are at risk of having pregnancy ...

Wisdom from a Grief and Loss Specialist

  • News Item
  • June 5, 2009
By Nicole BallingerBereaved parents understand that pregnancy and infant loss is a confronting thing for others to find out about. We know because we remember how awkward it was for us to handle (when someone we knew had lost a baby) before the sa...

Speaking with Hospital Staff

  • News Item
  • April 3, 2009
By Nicole BallingerRecently, I had the privilege of speaking with the midwives at our largest, local hospital. My articles had caught the eye of one of them, who invited me to speak about my experiences, and to offer any tips or fresh ideas. Unlik...

We Lose One Every Minute

  • News Item
  • October 22, 2008
By BridgetPlease Sign Our Petition The statistics are so ‘Dark Ages’…. With all the advances in modern medicine, you’d think pregnancy and infant loss wouldn’t happen so much anymore. But it does. Just with miscarriages alone, it’s estimated that ...

Our Very First Candle: a Sweet Experience

  • News Item
  • October 15, 2008
By Nicole Ballinger Today we lit a candle for the first time, at 7 pm on Oct. 15th – for International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This is the first year my family has known about this very special day. While it is not yet officiall...

Petition to Raise Awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss

  • News Item
  • August 24, 2008
By Nicole BallingerPlease add your name to our petition: to have Oct. 15th declared as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in Australia. You can add your name to this petition, no matter which country you live in. It's to get Oct. 15th recog...