The Voice of the Unborn Baby
Speaking for those born still
Cathartic And Healing Step In Your Journey
There is no name for a parent who lost their child and even less for a woman who had a miscarriage. Infant death or stillbirth is an unimaginably difficult thing for parents to deal with. The funeral of their baby can be a cathartic and healing step in the journey. However, for a long time, this kindness has been denied to parents who experience miscarriage before 26 weeks and to the baby they lost. These babies cannot speak, and that is why Sonja Smith champions The Voice of the Unborn Baby case.
What is the Case?
In SA, the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992 defines Stillbirth as a child that has had at least 26 weeks of intra-uterine existence but showed no sign of life after complete birth. This death can be seen and handled as any normal death and the parents have to bury or cremate their child. This was not the case for a miscarriage before 26 weeks of gestation, and The Voice of the Unborn Baby Constitutional Challenge resulted in clarity for the law that was misinterpreted by all for so many years.
Foetuses who died during the first 26 weeks of gestation were treated as medical waste in hospitals and disposed of in an incinerator. These miscarried foetuses were not afforded any kind of funeral service, unlike stillborn babies, who died after 26 weeks of gestation.
We believe that parents who endure the death of a child at any point during the pregnancy, who suffere miscarriage or stillbirth, deserve the right to bury or cremate what they already perceive to be their babies, in a dignified fashion.
When you lose a baby, you lose part of yourself, you lose the dreams you have for the baby, and you lose a future with your child!
It should not be judged as anything less than a great loss…
What Has Happened so Far?
On 29 March 2021, the High Court ruled that certain provisions of the Births and Death Registration Act are unconstitutional. It ruled that in the case of a pregnancy loss, other than by medical intervention, bereaved parents should have the choice to bury the foetus. The ruling did not include babies lost due to medical intervention, like abortion. The Voice of the Unborn Baby case had to do with issues of constitutionality and was heard before the Constitutional Court.
Our Greatest Desire
We feel that parents must have a choice with regard to the final disposition of the little bodies of their babies born still before 26 weeks of gestation. If they want to, they are now able to bury or cremate their child with a full funeral service in which the parents and their nearest and dearest can mourn together and support one another. If they want to, they can have a small service where they mourn in private. However parents wish to say their final goodbye, we can now give all babies, even those born still before 26 weeks, the respect and dignity of normal funeral options.