Imagine being an expectant mother who suddenly is forced to be sedated, undergo a caesarean section and then have social services take your baby and keep it from you nearly a year and half.
It all started in July 2012 when a pregnant Italian woman, who is not being identified for legal reasons, attended a training course at the airport in Essex, England. The woman suffers from a bipolar condition had not taken her medication as regularly as she should have and suffered a panic attack after leaving the airport. She called police for help. When the police responded, they were concerned for the woman and took her to a hospital. Only after arriving at the hospital, the woman realized that it was a mental facility. She insisted on returning to her hotel, but the hospital staff ended up restraining her, using England’s Mental Health Act.
The woman was kept in the mental hospital for a number of weeks. Without her knowledge or consent, the social services people went to the High Court and obtained a legal order that allowed them to forcibly sedate the woman, remove her baby via caesarean section and then place the infant in social services custody.
Eventually the woman was released and returned to Italy, but returned to England in February 2013 to get her child back. The woman has resumed taking her medication and has not had any relapses of her panic attack. When she appeared before the judge, he thought favorably of her, but then ruled that the child, who is now 15 months old, should be placed up for adoption because the mother could have a relapse in the future.
The issue was reviewed by a High Court in Rome, since the infant is technically an Italian citizen. While they did question what happened, the Italian judge said that at the time, the woman had no capacity to instruct her attorneys in the matter and that the British courts did have jurisdiction over the matter at the time.
In the meantime, her attorneys are trying to find out why Essex social services never bothered to contact any of the woman’s family in Italy on the case. A friend of the family in America had contacted Essex social services to tell them that they would look after the baby girl, but social services refused the offer and insisted on placing the baby in British care.
This case should be a warning to any pregnant woman who is planning on traveling to England for any reason. If she has any kind of medical condition, she needs to make sure she takes her medication as directed and possibly delay her trip until after the birth of her child. Otherwise, she may find herself in a similar situation where British authorities will find a reason to forcibly take her baby out of her womb and keep it. It’s a scary world we live in these days.