Don’t turn my baby tragedy into an anti-abortion law

Three years ago, on Christmas Day, a driver under the influence of methadone and prescription drugs drove off the road and into me. It took three hours for rescue workers to free me and transport me to hospital.

I was 32 weeks pregnant at the time. When I arrived at the hospital, I was told our baby still had a heartbeat. This calmed me down but two hours later, when they were having difficulty locating her with the monitors, I began to panic. I was rushed into the operating theatre for an emergency caesararian. But unfortunately the doctors couldn't revive her. Our precious daughter, Zoe, was gone.

My partner Nick and I realised within a few days that this wasn't a dream: we couldn't change what had happened or what we had lost. But we assumed was that the driver would be charged with causing the death of our daughter.

What we didn’t realise is that the law only allowed Zoe to be included as one of my “injuries”. And that’s when we started campaigning for “Zoe’s Law”.

Zoe's Law would make it a criminal offence to harm to an unborn child other than in medical procedures, such as abortion.

We are keen to distance ourselves from the bill Fred Nile has proposed –  which he's also called Zoe’s Law. I'm wary of what direction it may take. Nick and I are only interested in supporting a law that will only apply to those who’ve caused the loss of an unborn child while committing a serious indictable crime, not medical procedures, mothers or medical professionals. And to lessen the confusion we are only campaigning for it to apply to an unborn child capable of being born alive, which means somewhere around 22-25 weeks gestation. 

 

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We understand the delicacies of such a law and we want to make sure there are no loopholes that allow it to be amended in the future to be associated with abortion. Our campaign is about recognition and accountability and not religious or moral beliefs. 

Zoe was much loved and losing a child in any way is horrific, I think in general society needs to look at the social acceptance of talking about miscarriages and stillbirths. People sidestep the issue and once, if you’re able to have another baby, they are relieved and seen to think that takes the pain (and awkwardness) away.

It doesn't, it helps, but you still remember all your children. I have a two-year-old son, Lachlan, and a five-year-old daughter, Ashlee [pictured above, with Brodie], but my heart will never stop aching for Zoe.

I believe the more avenues there are that recognise your child, your loss and your pain the more chance of healing and comfort. That’s all we want from a separate law, a chance for recognition and closure in a way that assesses the loss of an unborn child separately to your own injuries and also makes the offender accountable for what they have done.

Nick and I have coped with our loss by raising money for fabulous charities such as Miracle Babies, Bears of Hope, the Royal North Shore Hospital and Westpac Helicopter and supporting and following others such as Yasminah’s Gift of Hope, Heartfelt and Lamb. There are so many fabulous charities out there and I encourage you all to seek them out and support them.

 

You can follow Brodie Donegan on Twitter here or on Facebook here

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