Earlier this month, the Human Rights Tribunal in Ontario made a significant ruling. Winnie Muo, after suffering a miscarriage followed by all the subsequent physical and emotional pain, was fired from her job. In the aftermath of the traumatic experience, she was unable to perform all the tasks necessary for her job, say the employer. It is hoped, however, that this ruling by the Tribunal may bring miscarriage out of the realm of silence and shame, and spark a much-needed conversation about women’s health and reproductive rights in Canada.
As anyone trying to conceive will confirm, not every positive pregnancy test ends with a healthy, live baby in your arms. In fact 20% of all confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage, 80% of those ocuring in the first 12 weeks.Given how common this potentially traumatizing situation can be, it’s surprising how little leeway is granted to woman who miscarry on a Tuesday and show up for work Wednesday morning. Most never even disclose to their colleagues or employers what has happened. Some, like Winnie Muo, are unable to quickly recover from the physical and psychological pain. It is hoped that this ruling will help to remove the stigma and allow woman going through a miscarriage to take the necessary time and care, and return to work when they are fully recovered.