'I Won't Stop': The Fight To Protect Unborn Babies
It has been four years since Sarah Milosevic lost her unborn daughter, and she's still fighting for Sophie's life to mean something.
Milosevic was 39 weeks pregnant when a drunk and speeding driver collided with her car south of Brisbane on August 29, 2014. She was critically injured, while her husband Peter broke his neck.
Baby Sophie died in the accident, just days before she was due.
"Families should be able to rebuild from that. But it's always with you and it never ever stops," Milosevic told ten daily.
"We've just had her fourth birthday and then the anniversary of her death. All of those things make it very raw again."
Just this week, Milosevic had to pull down her daughter's memorial that risked being demolished amid development in the area. On Friday, she heard news of a teenage driver and her heavily pregnant passenger who were killed in a car crash in Sydney.
She described it in one word: "heartbreaking".
New South Wales Police has sought legal advice over whether they can charge a man over the deaths of 23-year-old Katherine Hoang's twin unborn babies.
Driver Richard Moananu, 29, is facing ten charges, including two counts of manslaughter and aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death, following the crash at Orchard Hills that killed Katherine and her sister-in-law Anh Hoang. Katherine's husband, who was also in the car, was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
But none of the charges relate to the deaths of Katherine's babies who were also killed in the accident.
According to NSW Police, "inquiries into the crash are continuing".
"Advice is being sought by investigators regarding legal action relating to the death of the unborn twins," a spokeswoman told ten daily.
Back in 2014, the driver that crashed into Milosevic's car was fined $950 for his crimes and had his licence suspended for five months.
"I hear this happening a lot and yet the governments won't listen, and there is no justice," she said.
The sentence prompted Milosevic and her husband to begin campaigning for Sophie's Law, that would class any death of a child in utero caused by an act of aggression as a criminal offence.
The legislation would be modeled on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, a tried and tested practice in the US.
"It has exclusions that protect people -- such as medical practitioners or a mother who has fallen down stairs -- so that it is only under the circumstances where the law has been broken or an act of aggression has resulted in that death," Milosevic explained.
"The goal has always been if we passed it in Queensland first, then we would push to have the same law written through the rest of the states."
From the outset, Sophie's Law attracted over 120,000 signatures on a change.org petition. But it has faced questions and opposition in Queensland as the state moves to overhaul abortion laws.
"We are in the process of finding other ways to bring this law in as a matter of urgency," Milosevic said.
In New South Wales, there has been a recent push to implement a similar law known as Zoe's Law, named after Brodie Donegan's daughter who also died in utero due to dangerous driving in December 2009.
The driver was not charged over Zoe's death, and the baby was listed as one of Donegan's injuries.
The bill defines a foetus over 20 weeks or weighing more than 400 grams as a legal "person" in order to criminalise harm to late-term foetuses that die during injuries inflicted on their mother.
For Donegan, who says she is pro-abortion, it was a way of filling a gap in what is a contested area of the law. The legislation passed the NSW lower house but could not pass the upper house in 2013, with critics arguing it would put a woman's right to abortion at risk by giving personhood to a foetus.
There have been reports the bill was well-intentioned, but used by politicians to further their anti-abortion agenda.
Milosevic said Sophie's Law is "thorough".
"The information and the way the law is written is very clear so that a woman's rights are still protected, as are those of a medical practitioner," she said.
Last September, a motion for the bill was passed at the Nationals federal conference in Canberra, meaning it would be adopted should the LNP win the next election.
In the meantime, Milosevic said she won't stop fighting.
"All I want to see is that every unborn baby in Australia is protected," she said.
"Keeping up the fight is what keeps me going."