On October 13 2016, members of the House of Commons shared personal stories of baby loss. During the discussion of stillbirths, several MPs were moved to tears.
The debate, which coincided with Baby Loss Awareness Week, was arranged by Conservative MPs Antoinette Sandbach and Will Quince, who have both lost a child. Ms Sandbach described the loss of her son as the “most devastating” event a parent can go through.
Labour MP for Lewisham and Deptford, Vicky Foxcroft, shared the loss of her baby, Veronica, five days following birth, after the umbilical cord became wrapped around her neck during labour, starving her of oxygen. She said the pain: “never goes away.”
Each year, around 3,500 babies are born without signs of life after the twenty fourth week of a pregnancy. Another 2,000 babies die within their first four weeks. Ministers are aiming for a 20 percent reduction in stillbirths and infant deaths by 2020.
Health Minister Philip Dunne, speaking for the government, said he was “humbled” by the MPs’ experiences and that: “There was barely a dry eye in the House when they were speaking, and I think that pays due tribute to their bravery and courage”.
Mr Dunne said the government is working to improve the “unacceptable” number of stillbirths.