A pregnant woman who was confined to a psychiatric hospital in England after suffering a panic attack awoke from heavy sedation to a horrifying surprise: Her baby had been taken from her via non-consensual caesarian section.
Fifteen months later, British social services still refuse to return the baby girl to her mother, who is an Italian citizen.
The horrifying ordeal began in July of 2012, when the pregnant woman–whose name has been withheld–traveled to Essex, England to attend a job training seminar. It was there that she suffered a panic attack attributed to withdrawal from medication she was taking to treat her bipolar disorder, according to The Telegraph.
Worried about her condition, she called the police herself. She was soon locked away in a mental health facility and barred from returning to her hotel.
In August, Essex social services sought and received a court order to force the woman to undergo c-section surgery to have the baby. Upon awaking from heavy sedation, the woman discovered that the surgery had already happened–without her permission. Her baby girl was now in state custody.
The woman returned to Italy and resumed her regular medication. In February, she came back to Britain to obtain her child. The court found her to be in stable condition, but refused to release the child to her out of fear that she could relapse.
So far, British courts have refused to grant the woman custody–something her lawyers consider to be an outrage.
“I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job,” said Brendan Fleming, the woman’s British attorney, in a statement.
In addition to the invasive, Orwellian nature of the actions taken against the woman, Italian authorities are skeptical that British social services had the legal means to put a non-resident through such an ordeal.
Essex should have notified Italian social services and sought input from the woman’s family, said the lawyers.
Relatives in America had also offered to care for the child in the interim, but this suggestion was rejected by British social services. Instead, the baby girl has been put up for adoption.
The laws that allowed the British government to detain this woman, put her through surgery and steal her child are now being questioned by Parliament Member John Hemming, a member of the Liberal Party.
Hemming told The Telegraph’s Christopher Booker that the case was “extraordinary, unlike any other case I have come across, and one I hope to raise in Parliament.”