A pregnant Italian woman on a business trip in the UK suffered a panic attack and local authorities then forced her to undergo a Caesarean section, surrendering the child on the grounds that she was unstable.
Fifteen months later, the woman is now fighting for the return of her child, according to a report in the UK Sunday Telegraph.
"The legal documents handed to the Sunday Telegraph indicate that after five weeks in the ward, the woman was sedated and subjected to a caesarean section procedure to remove the unborn child from her womb. The Essex social services had received an order from a High Court giving them the go ahead to carry out the operation on the grounds that the woman was not mentally fit," the report states.
“I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job,” Brendan Fleming, the woman’s British lawyer, told the Telegraph.
According to the Telegraph, the woman was not told the procedure was going to take place, her next of kin in Italy were not given a chance to take the child, and the child was placed for adoption, despite an offer from a close family friend in the U.S. to care for it.
The Independent (UK) reported that the woman "was visiting Britain in July last year to attend a Ryanair training course at Stansted airport in Essex when she suffered a panic attack after failing to take medication for her bipolar disorder.
"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."
"Please God, there's more to this," Shami Chakrabarti, director of the Human Rights Organization, Liberty, told The Guardian. "But at first blush this is dystopian science-fiction unworthy of a democracy like ours. Forced surgery and separation of mother and infant is the stuff of nightmares that those responsible will struggle to defend in courts of law and decency."