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  • Senator Sharon Keogan

Reproductive Health Leave Bill

Last year Meghan Markle documented her personal experience of miscarriage in a new york times article her words there in have instigated an open and public discussion on the topic which truly underscored the need for reproductive health leave bill she wrote that losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief experienced by many but talked about by a few I agree with her comments.

Women who have experienced miscarriages have often suffered in silence without public or private support it is only right for rocks this rockets to recognize that losing a child before birth is heartbreaking for parents and as Meghan Markle pointed out it is heartbreaking which requires time for healing it is only right for the Oireachtas to recognize the inadequacies of ireland's current stance on reproductive health leave. It is only right for us to support this bill.

In the briefing paper for senators on the reproductive health bill we were informed that one in five pregnancy in ireland ends in miscarriage each year one in five parents experience the unbearable grief one in five pregnancies annually leave parents heartbroken and perhaps in need of support up to 14 000 women a year suffered the death of the baby before 24 weeks gestation and yet as Niamh Connolly coined from the board of directors of the Irish neo-natal health alliances pointed out there is no statutory entitlement for paid leave but those parents experience the tragic the tragedy of miscarriage.

The bill proposes up to 20 days leave for women and their partners who have suffered early miscarriage if a woman has a stillborn birth that weighs more than 500 grams and has died after 24 weeks gestation she is entitled to full maternity leave for 26 weeks as outlined in the maternity protection act 1994-2002 maternity leave is also a statutory entitlement in these circumstances. The fact that the government offers no strategy protection for a woman who has lost her baby a mere week earlier is as the Irish neonatal health alliance have explained unacceptable. I urge the government to address this matter urgently i urge the government to address this matter urgently we must ask what difference does 23 and 24 weeks gestation make to a woman grieving the loss of our baby it does not matter to a woman whether she has miscarried her child or whether the child was at stillborn as Mario Rosenstock remarked in the Irish times interview last week it is the expectation that the burgering life that is coming and is your preparation for the expectation of life coming into the world and then for that to be cancelled it's so sad and shocking. What is the Irish government doing to offer support to these parents Irish women too should have these entitlements where the reproductive health leave bill would offer them.

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