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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reads a statement of condolence at Bute House following the announcement of the death in Balmoral of Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8, 2022, in Edinburgh, ScotlandPhoto Jane Barlow - Pool/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Outgoing Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has put forward an initiative that will enable women in Scotland who have suffered a miscarriage prior to 24 weeks gestation to apply for a “commemorative certificate,” creating a formal record of their child’s existence. 

The new initiative, which will begin this summer, will be free of charge, and those who choose to participate will be able to record the loss of their child in a Memorial Book produced by the Scottish government and National Records of Scotland, which is responsible for recording births and deaths. 

Parents who wish to record their children’s deaths – and implicitly, their existence – can do so as long as they live in Scotland, and will not be required to submit any medical evidence. If parents have suffered multiple miscarriages, they can apply individually for each child, and parents can also submit applications for children they lost prior to the start of the initiative. The program is intended to “give recognition and comfort” to those who have lost children – all participation is voluntary. 

Sturgeon stated that her own deeply felt grief over a miscarriage she suffered in 2011 at the age of forty was the motivation to create the initiative. “The loss of a pregnancy or baby is always painful,” she said. “I have spoken in the past about my personal experience of miscarriage, and I know the sense of grief will stay with me and my husband forever. I also know that we would have drawn comfort at the time if there had been a way for us to mark the loss and formally recognise the child we were grieving.”

The Memorial Book, Sturgeon said, would give parents the opportunity to “commemorate their loss with a physical record, and to have their child recognised” and that she hoped it would “bring comfort to those experiencing the pain of baby loss” as well as “break the silence and stigma around the loss of a pregnancy or a baby that sadly still exists in our society.”  

This is a wonderful policy that will likely have precisely the impact Sturgeon is hoping for. Social recognition of children lost through miscarriage is a public validation of that child’s existence as well as his or her value. I hope other countries consider similar policies. 

But it is also strangely schizophrenic. 

This new initiative allows parents to record the loss of children up to 24 weeks. That happens to be precisely how long abortion is legal in Scotland. Those children, too, constitute “baby loss.” Yet, they are not only unrecognized, but the right to kill them is formally enshrined in law. 

Indeed, Sturgeon has publicly endorsed the right to kill children in the womb. The day Roe v. Wade was overturned in the United States, she tweeted: 

One of the darkest days for women’s rights in my lifetime. Obviously the immediate consequences will be suffered by women in the U.S. – but this will embolden anti-abortion & anti-women forces in other countries too. Solidarity doesn’t feel enough right now – but it is necessary.

She also advocated for buffer zones around abortion clinics and considered offering women from Northern Ireland free abortions. 

Why bring this up? Because this schizophrenia is a lethal one. If Nicola Sturgeon believes what she has so movingly said – that “baby loss” is profoundly painful for parents, and that social recognition of these children is important, then there are obvious, inescapable conclusions that must be pointed out. 

Are the unwanted babies violently killed by abortion somehow less human than the wanted babies who die naturally of miscarriage? Is the value of a child’s life dictated by how much the parents value him or her? 

Children who die in miscarriage are precious and should be recognized as such. Children killed by abortion are precious and should be recognized as such. You can reject both of these views, but you cannot choose only one.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.