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MPs were moved to tears today by colleague Sharon Hodgson recalling how her stillborn baby “officially did not exist” even though she had known that the little girl’s heart was beating throughout most of the birth.
Ms Hodgson’s voice faltered and she had to pause several times as she described the traumatic birth of her third child Lucy.
Her fellow Labour MPs could also be seen dabbing their eyes when she said that Lucy, who would have been 20 this year, had no birth or death certificate after she was stillborn at 23-and-a-half weeks.
Ms Hodgson explained that this was because she was “three to four days short” of the required 24-week legal age.
This emerged during debate on the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc) Bill, which includes proposals to introduce formal recording of a stillborn child born before gestation has passed the 24-week mark and to give coroners power to investigate late-stage stillbirths.
Ms Hodgson said she had watched a previous Commons debate on baby loss from her office as she was “too scared” of her emotional reaction to be present in the chamber.
Conservative MP Will Quince intervened to allow Ms Hodgson a chance to compose herself, noting: “Bereaved parents, all of us, want to ensure our child’s life, however short, has meaning.
“She is absolutely doing that. If she doesn’t mind me saying, Lucy would be very proud of her mummy today.”
Ms Hodgson joked in reply: “If he was trying to calm us down, he’s probably made it worse.”
The Bill, tabled by Tory former minister Tim Loughton, seeks to see how the government can extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples and calls for the inclusion of a mother or second parent’s name on marriage and civil partnership certificates.
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