Yesterday I brought you the unfortunate story of a Canadian turned away from our borders not because she was a terrorist or criminal — but because she simply had a diagnosis of depression and, more than a year ago, was hospitalized for treatment of it.
Just to show you that the United States isn’t the only backwards country in the world when it comes to discriminating against those with a mental illness, I bring you the much sadder story of an Italian woman who had bipolar disorder, went to the UK for a training course, and wound up being forced to have a C-section without her consent. Wait, what?
Worse, this woman’s forced C-section was approved by a UK court. Apparently, in the UK, having a panic attack is sufficient to remove most of your freedoms and rights.
The Italian woman suffered from bipolar disorder and was visiting the UK in July 2012 for a Ryanair training course. She apparently suffered a panic attack while there because she missed a dose of her bipolar medication.
Despite the woman’s mother explaining her daughter’s condition to police over the telephone from Italy, she was taken to a psychiatric hospital and sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Five weeks later, her daughter was removed from her womb without her consent. [...]
After the C-section, the woman, who has two other children and is divorced, was sent back to Italy without her daughter. She returned to Britain in February to request the return of her daughter, who is now 15 months old, but was told at Chelmsford Crown Court that she was to be put up for adoption in case her mother suffered a relapse.
So apparently a court in one country can determine you’re somehow an unfit mother — without, you know, actually talking to you — and take away your baby. After the same court ordered it removed from your womb without your permission.
This story sounds like something out of Soviet Russia, not a modern-day first-world country such as the United Kingdom. How could a court in any country order the removal of a fetus without the mother’s consent if it wasn’t a medical necessity? Why wouldn’t they just release her and let her travel back home? Is this another example of discrimination against those with a mental illness, just because it’s easy to do so?
While there may be more to this story than we know, on its surface it appears entirely incredulous. And it should serve as a warning to anyone who travels to the UK — your freedom and your future child’s life may be at stake if you should happen to relapse or have a momentary episode while there.
Editorial Note: Please see this important update in the comments section. It clarifies the truth of this story, which is not as what it first appeared.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Dec 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2013). Bipolar, Pregnant & Visiting the UK? They May Take Your Unborn Baby. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/12/04/bipolar-pregnant-visiting-the-uk-they-may-take-your-unborn-baby/