News

Sophie's Law to protect unborn babies from violence

LIFE TAKEN: Sarah Milosevic (pictured below) lost her unborn baby in a crash caused by a drunk and drug-affected driver.
LIFE TAKEN: Sarah Milosevic (pictured below) lost her unborn baby in a crash caused by a drunk and drug-affected driver.

SARAH MILOSEVIC was 39 weeks pregnant when a drunk driver hit the car she and her husband Peter were driving in.

Sophie Ella Milosevic, who was due to be born a week after the August 29, 2014 crash, died in her mother's womb after the placenta ruptured and her oxygen supply was cut off.

Had she been born naturally her chances of survival would have been almost 100%.

With broken ribs and other fractures, and multiple internal injuries including brain trauma, Ms Milosevic gave birth to Sophie's still body a few days later.

Sophie was not classed as a human being, with no rights in a court of law because she was stillborn.

At 39 weeks gestation babies are fully developed within their mothers' wombs and spend those final days before their birth just gaining mass.

The man Ms Milosevic holds responsible for causing her baby's death, Rodney Shaw, was found guilty in Beenleigh Magistrates Court last year of speeding and being under the influence of intoxicating substances.

He received a $950 fine and had his license suspended for five months.

Shaw's alcohol reading was 0.091 - nearly double the legal limit - while the methamphetamine level in his blood was 0.13.

Contributed

The Milosevices are deeply aggrieved at what they see as a gross lack of justice for their daughter's death.

"Had she been born and taken just a single gasp of air, she would have had rights in a court of law, and the person who killed her would have been accountable for it," Ms Milosevic said.

"Instead of bringing my baby girl home I had to plan her funeral."

Ms Milosevic said Sophie's room was all ready for her.

"All her clothes had been washed and packed neatly into her cupboard, I had all the nappies and baby products ready, my hospital bag was packed, all we were waiting for was her arrival," she said.

Ms Milosevic said it took her six months before she was able to go into Sophie's room and pack all her things away. The grieving parents are now seeking to have the laws that protect and classify unborn babies changed.

"I want all babies past 30 weeks gestation to have the right to be classed as a human being," she said.

At 30 weeks babies' brain and new fat cells have started to regulate their body temperature.

Their bone marrow has taken over production of red blood cells, meaning babies are far better able to thrive on their own once born.

"If a baby is born at 20 weeks there will be little to no medical intervention as the baby's chances of survival outside the womb is so slim," Ms Milosevic said.

"But babies born naturally without any pre-existing medical condition from 30 weeks and up have a 95% chance of survival."

Ms Milosevic said classifying babies at 30 weeks as human beings would also protect women's rights.

"I want pregnant women protected against acts of violence and against their babies dying from avoidable causes," she said.

"Sophie would have been alive if not for the reckless and illegal actions of a person who does not accept responsibility."

A Change.org petition calling on Attorney General Yvette D'Ath to see Sophie's Law introduced has already garnered over 60,000 signatures. The law would classify all babies from 30 weeks gestation as human beings.

"This petition is to give a voice to a little baby who will never take her first steps, and give other unborn babies a voice and rights," Ms Milosevic said.

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