Changes to the Australian census will allow families to record stillborn babies for the first time.
The five-yearly national population survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has removed the phrase ‘live births’ allowing the government to recognise children lost during pregnancy.
The Daily Mail reports, Stillbirth Foundation Australia noted that six babies per day are still born and the number has not changed in decades.
‘This is not an official recognition, it’s not a certificate from the state saying you went into a hospital and gave birth, but at least it’s some way that the experience of motherhood is acknowledged,’ says former NSW premier Kristina Keneally.
Ms Keneally, who gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Caroline, in 1999, said families had felt excluded by a controversial instruction in the census to record “live births only”.
“Every year when I fill out that census I’ve been a bit rankled and a bit angry because the instruction says how many births have you had … it’s always stipulated live births,” she told 702 ABC Sydney.
Ms Keneally said the availability of census data would compel research into prevention.
Other changes include the recognition of people without a religion affiliation by moving the category of ‘no religion’ to the top option.
The 2016 census will also be the first to be offered online allowing respondents to fill the form before or after August 9.
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