A stillborn baby can be officially registered after 140 days of pregnancy from Sunday the 31st of March. This used to only be possible after 180 days of pregnancy.
The reform was adopted in December. It has been criticised, as some people see it as a threat to a woman’s right to have an abortion and choose what happens to their body.
Minister Koen Geens applauded the change on Saturday, while he was in Louvain presenting the digitalisation of the Civil Registry. “I have been contacted by parents who want this recognition and I understand that. They deserve to have their pain recognised so they can grieve. From Monday, parents can give their child an officially recognised place in their lives”, he said.
Up until now, a stillborn child was recognised 180 days (6 months) after conception. The parents had to register their child after this. They could ask for a first name to be included on the birth certificate. The baby’s death was then also registered.
With the new law, a deceased baby can be registered after 140 days (20 weeks) of pregnancy. The baby can be registered by the mother, father, married co-parent or recognised parent. Unmarried and unrecognised fathers and co-parents can also register the baby with the mother’s consent.
A year-long transition period will allow those who have suffered a miscarriage in the past to benefit from the new law.