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The Daily Telegraph and Today Show: Apologise and report the facts about birthing at home

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On Tues 14th August, 2018 The Daily Telegraph released an article about the birth of Mahli Goetze and her mother Jessie Goetze’s choice to free birth at home. The reporting journalist Annabel Hennessy, despite having the facts provided to her from Jessie, chose to report Jessie’s choice as reckless and position her as a woman promoting dangerous birthing choices. This article was also picked up by Channel 9’s Today Show with the headline “Homebirth Warning” and continued to gain traction around the world using Jessie’s personal homevideo recording of her birth as the backdrop for an array of slanderous opinions about the apparent dangers of birthing at home. Firstly, this is a grossly insulting and painful experience Jessie and her family have had to endure at the hands of these media outlets. But more importantly, Jessie’s video was used to report completely inaccurate information about home and free birth and to share inaccurate opinions about a situation that needs so much more awareness and positive support in Australia.

While the countless nasty viewer comments made about the video can be ignored, what can’t be ignored is The Daily Telegraph and Today’s use of this footage to incite fear in to the Australian public and to spark debate on such a crucially influential issue for young women and mothers in Australia. Not to mention the stress this has caused for Jessie personally as a new mother living in rural far North Queensland. Her geographical inability to access a private midwife, distance from a hospital and concern about outdated hospital policies are hugely important issues being faced by Australian women every day - but none of this was discussed. We simply ask that since you opened up the debate that you take responsibility for your inaccurate reporting and give Jessie and the professionals in the women’s health and birthing field the chance to have their say on this topic. 

Firstly, we are requesting that Jessie receive a formal apology from The Daily Telegraph and Today for your slanderous treatement of her personal information. And secondly, we ask that you interview Jessie along with other relevantly qualified health care professionals that can provide your audience with the true facts about Jessie’s birth, recent research findings and provide a balanced discussion about the true landscape of birthing in Australia. This is an important issue that is of great interest to the Australian public - let’s do the right thing and report the facts!


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