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Janet Fraser: Coronial inquest


Recent media coverage of Janet Fraser and the coronial inquest into the death of her daughter, Roisin, has brought freebirth further into the public sphere.

It is interesting to note how the media cannot seem to agree on the colour of Roisin after birth.

"the baby girl was red in the face, limp and unresponsive" (AAP / McKeith,)
"the child appeared to be blue in the face, limp and unresponsive" (Davis)
" Ms Fraser's third child arrived lifeless and grey-blue" ('Harsh light' SMH)

As for character attacks on Janet Fraser, consider headlines such as "Could a midwife have saved home birth crusader Janet Fraser's baby?" (Dale) when it would have been sufficient to leave out homebirth crusader. A further assassination on character is demonstrated in headlines such as "Woman denies lying about baby's death" (AAP), and "Home birth advocate Janet Fraser admits lying to hospital staff about length of labour" (AAP).

Furthermore, one report stated that the inquest found that if present, a midwife could have saved Roisin (Dale). Funnily enough, this was reported on the 3rd of April, when the inquest yet has to make a finding.

To further inflame the situation, the media reported on Janet Fraser using the term "birth rape" to describe previous birth trauma. News footage even shows a clip from the Joyous Birth website showing Janet authored an article on birthrape (NineMSN). One could argue this was relevant to report on given it would appear having a traumatic experience previously was a reason Janet Fraser freebirthed, the reality is this reporting tactic was intended to fuel the flames of shock, outrage, indignation.

As a lot of the attention seems to be negative, here are the positive points from the media coverage. Indeed the following is what any reasonable person could be expected to do to discharge their responsibilites when an emergency arises.

1. Resuscitation attempts were performed on the baby after birth, by people present and subsequently, the ambulance officers (AAP, Dale, Davis, McKeith, Olding).

2. The ambulance was called (AAP, Dale, Davis, McKeith, Olding).

3. Janet Fraser is quoted as saying she would have sought help if needed (AAP) and this statement is supported by reports of Janet going to hospital after her second birth for help for haemorrhage (Olding), and calling the ambulance for Roisin (AAP, Dale, Davis, McKeith, Olding).


Media sources

2 April 2012 - Baby died during home water birth: inquest - Sam McKeith, Sydney Morning Herald: AAP article

2 April 2012 - Inquest not possible as child stillborn, mother claims - Lisa Davies, Sydney Morning Herald.

3 April 2012 (12:00am) - Could a midwife have saved home birth crusader Janet Fraser's baby? - Amy Dale, Daily Telegraph.
*Same story and reporter, different headlines/papers: and Herald Sun: Inquiry into Janet Fraser's homebirth finds midwife could have saved baby during delivery

3 April 2012 (2:28pm) - Woman denies lying about baby's death - inquest - AAP article The Australian, Courier Mail,,

3 April 2012 (6.53pm) - Home birth advocate Janet Fraser admits lying to hospital staff about length of labour - AAP article The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Courier Mail, NineMSN (videoclip),

6 April 2012 - Baby's death shines harsh light on free birthers - Rachel Olding, Sydney Morning Herald



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