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Grieving mum begins petition to change birth register laws

Jodie Tangikara holds precious the ashes of her fifth child, Marcus, and the knitted bed that he would have fitted in.
Jodie Tangikara holds precious the ashes of her fifth child, Marcus, and the knitted bed that he would have fitted in. Valerie Horton

A HERVEY Bay mum is petitioning the Australian Government to change its laws after being told she couldn't register the birth of her baby boy, who was stillborn at 19 weeks and five days.

The birth of babies cannot be registered in Australia unless they are born at 20 weeks or more - meaning Jodie Tangikara missed out by just two days on being able to register the birth of her son, whom she named Marcus.

Jodie wants the government to change the law so children born at 16 weeks gestation can have their births registered and be properly recognised.

If that had been the case, Jodie would have been able to take home a birth certificate for Marcus and he would have been recognised as a sibling on the birth certificates of her other children.

"At 16 weeks, mums are forced to deliver the child (if a baby dies in the womb)," she said.

She said babies were fully formed at that age, with tiny limbs, eyelids, fingers and toes.

A birth certificate would be recognition he did exist, Jodie said.

It would have also been a keepsake she would have treasured.

The family had a funeral for Marcus and he was cremated.

His ashes have a special place in Jodie's home and she thinks of him often.

Jodie said being told by hospital staff she would not be able to register her son's birth devastated her after what was already a traumatic experience.

"I yelled at them," she said.

To sign the petition, head to http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/rights-for-babies.html.

Topics:  birth, federal government, hervey bay, laws, register



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