Authorities in Great Britain forcibly sedated a pregnant woman from Italy, performed a court-ordered C-section delivery on her, and now plan to put the child up for adoption against her will.
The unnamed woman traveled to England in July 2012 for a training course offered by her employer, the budget carrier Ryanair. While at the airport hotel awaiting her return trip to Italy, she reportedly had a panic attack because she'd misplaced the passports of her two older daughters, who were back home with their grandmother.
The distraught woman called police, who took her into custody on learning that she had a bipolar disorder. They dropped her at a psychiatric hospital. Five weeks later, after hearing an appeal by social services officials, a British court ordered the pregnant woman's labor "to be enforced by way of caesarean section."
On the day of the procedure—which she didn't know was coming—she was refused breakfast and forcibly sedated. She remained in a drug-induced stupor for five weeks after, when she was told what happened... and informed that she could neither see her newborn nor take her home.
The woman has since returned to Italy, resumed treatment for her mental condition, and unsuccessfully petitioned for custody of the child. Her husband, an American man from whom she is "amicably separated," reportedly offered to give the daughter a home with his family in Los Angeles. But so far authorities have gone against the UK's general guideline of placing children in social services with immediate members of their own families.
The child, now 15 months old, remains in UK custody, where authorities say they'll comply with a court's order to put her up for adoption by some family in Great Britain. The mother has called in a high-profile British attorney in hopes that the court's ruling is overturned, but there are few precedents to guide an appeal. Asked by the Telegraph, an expert in social services cases called the woman's plight "highly unusual."
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