Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Statements by Senators
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
October is officially recognised as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This is an important time to come together in recognition of women and their families across our community who have suffered this tragedy, many of whom have suffered it more than once. The loss of a baby is a heartbreaking thing, no matter when it happens, and, whilst we know pregnancy and infant loss is common, the fact is: our responses to families experiencing these tragedies is insufficient because of the lack of available data—the data simply isn't there to guide the right policy responses. Information is power, and we do not have enough information.
When it comes to miscarriage, we can only estimate, but we do estimate that one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage. If it hasn't affected us in our own lives, I know everyone in this chamber would know a loved one whom it has affected. Around 100,000 pregnancy losses are reported in our country every year, with a miscarriage occurring every five minutes in Australia—every five minutes, a family experiencing that cruel and shattering loss: the loss of a child, the loss of a hope, the loss of a dream. The fact is that, despite this being such a common and tragic experience for so many women and their families across Australia, our policy responses simply haven't kept up and haven't been sufficient to ensure that women are receiving the right care, treatment and support when and where it is needed.
That's why last week in Adelaide I held a roundtable with assistant minister Ged Kearney to hear from clinicians, advocates, support workers and families with lived experience on this issue. We heard about the importance of strong data to support strong action. We heard about how families in our community were feeling unsupported, and particularly their partners and family members feeling excluded from what support was available. And we heard of the variability across sectors, locations, clinicians and support services in both the availability, quality and appropriateness of care. There are many courageous families telling their stories. We've heard you, and I look forward to this work continuing in government.