Parents in New Zealand who lose an unborn baby to miscarriage now will be able to take bereavement leave to grieve their child’s death.
The New Zealand Parliament passed the life-affirming new Bereavement Bill in a unanimous vote Wednesday, News 18 reports. The law allows mothers, fathers and adoptive parents to take up to three days of paid leave from work if their unborn child dies in a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Significantly, the new law recognizes that unborn babies are valuable human beings by treating their deaths in the same way as the death of a born child. Born or unborn, the death of a child is a tragedy, and parents need time to grieve.
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“The grief that comes with miscarriage is not a sickness; it is a loss,” said MP Ginny Anderson, the sponsor of the legislation. “That loss takes time – time to recover physically and time to recover mentally; time to recover with a partner.”
The Live Mirror reports Anderson pointed to health data showing that almost one in four women suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth in their lifetime. She expressed hope that the new law will prompt other countries to take similar actions.
“I can only hope that while we may be one of the first, we will not be one of the last, and that other countries will also begin to legislate for a compassionate and fair leave system that recognizes the pain and the grief that comes from miscarriage and stillbirth,” she said.
The new law does not apply to parents whose unborn babies are killed in elective abortions, according to the report. Unlike in a miscarriage or stillbirth where the baby’s death is natural and unintended, an abortion is the direct, intentional destruction of an unborn baby’s life.
Many mothers and fathers eventually do grieve the losses of their unborn babies to abortion, too. Post-abortion healing programs, such as Rachel’s Vineyard, help parents process the loss of an unborn child to abortion, forgive themselves for their participation in their baby’s death and heal.