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U.K. court forces bipolar woman to undergo C-section, give up baby
Question of the Day
British officials had a baby forcibly removed by cesarean section after a High Court ruled the child's mother was incapable of being a fit parent.
Essex social services obtained an order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb, the Telegraph reported.
The woman, who was not named in the Telegraph report, is an Italian who went to Britain last year on a business trip to Essex. She suffered a panic attack while she was there, which may have been due to her missing her medication for an existing bipolar condition, the report said.
She called the police, who then took her to a psychiatric facility and kept her there under the Mental Health Act. Essex social services obtained a High Court order in August 2012 for the birth "to be enforced by way of caesarean section," court documents said, the Telegraph reported.
The woman said that she was kept unaware of the case proceedings and that after five weeks in the ward she was forcibly sedated. When she woke up, her baby was gone.
The baby girl, now 15 months old, is still in the state's care.
"I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job," Brendan Fleming, the woman's lawyer, told the Telegraph. "I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented."
The issue will be addressed in Parliament this week by John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP.
"I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people's rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme," he said. "It involves the Court of Protection authorizing a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed. I worry about the way these decisions about a person's mental capacity are being taken without any apparent concern as to the effect on the individual being affected."
The woman's lawyers say she has continued her medication and has made a full recovery. They said the judge even liked her but was afraid she might suffer a relapse, the Telegraph reported.
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About the Author
Jessica Chasmar is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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