Meghan Markle opens up an important global conversation about pregnancy loss

The sad news of Meghan Markle’s miscarriage resonated deeply with many who have experienced similar pain, my husband and myself included.

Our third baby is represented in the statistic of one in around four pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

Meghan spoke publicly of her heartbreak and described her miscarriage as devastating, saying she is suffering unbearable grief. “I tried to imagine how we’d heal,” she said.

“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few.”

Her public announcement opened up an important global conversation about pregnancy loss. Thousands of messages of support for the Duchess have been posted online.

Charles Spencer is the brother of the late Princess Diana, who would have been a proud grandmother to Meghan and Harry’s children if she had lived. Charles Spencer sent his thoughts to them, saying, “I can’t imagine the agony for any couple for losing a child in this way.”

In the wake of the Duchess of Sussex’s sad news, the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced on social media a new initiative to assist those who experience early pregnancy loss.

Parents in Victoria who have experienced the loss of an unborn baby through miscarriage can now apply for an “Early pregnancy loss commemorative certificate.” Andrews hoped it would help “bereaved parents mourn the child they never got to meet.”

Miscarriage is a spontaneous event that occurs involuntarily and suddenly to women who were expecting to give birth a few months later. It is correctly recognised as a traumatic and sad life event. It is difficult then, to explain the cognitive dissonance prevalent in our collective thinking considering abortion.

Similar statistics are recorded regarding the number of women who choose an abortion, as to those who suffer a miscarriage. In both cases, a precious baby’s life is ended, and the parents no longer have the hope of a child to love. The physical outcome is identical, but there are stark differences.

Meghan received global support from those who mourned with her understandable grief associated with the loss of the wanted baby in her womb. She lost something very precious – a baby. As I read the messages of love and support, I wondered how many of these same people justify abortion – a planned event where a baby’s life is purposely ended, for a variety of reasons.

In 2016, 125 Victorian late-term babies were aborted for psychosocial reasons. In a Victorian report conducted about one decade earlier, the most common reason for women having an abortion (34 per cent) was “bad timing.” Financial, relationship or medical reasons accounted for a further 19 per cent of cases.

The latest statistics in Western Australia reveal that less than 3 per cent of abortions are for fetal anomaly. In South Australia, less than 1 per cent of abortions are performed for medical reasons.

Viable babies have been born alive following abortions and left to die without any medical assistance.

Women who lose a child, for any reason, need our love and support.

How is it that on the one hand we mourn the loss of a baby’s life, and on the other hand, we defend the right to choose to end the life of a baby? Surely the comparison should jar on our sense of compassion and logic.

When the Queensland government passed laws in 2018 that made all abortions legal, loud cheers erupted in the chamber. On the first anniversary of these laws being passed, Queensland’s Deputy Premier hosted an abortion party to celebrate. With the motivation for many abortions being a lack of emotional, social or financial support for vulnerable women, there is absolutely no reason to celebrate.

The loss of any baby is heartbreaking for the parents. Women who lose a child, for any reason, need our love and support. A mother knows, instinctively, that what they carry is not simply a ball of cells.

It’s a good thing that we are discussing the grief of early pregnancy loss, but it is vital that we are not silent on the trauma of abortion.

There is a growing body of international research and anecdotal evidence of the negative impact that abortion has on women. It’s time to rethink our callous approach to aborted babies and promote policy changes in every State and Territory of Australia that would see real choices offered to women and their unborn children, along with a reduction in the alarming and harmful rates of abortion in our nation.

Wendy Francis is Queensland State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.