And now for a story that sounds more like some hormone-induced pregnancy nightmare than a real-life headline...
According to reports, an Italian mother was forcibly sedated by UK social services last year and given a C-section against her will—all so they could remove the baby from her care and put it up for adoption. (Yes, you read that right.)
The bizarre tale was first reported by the Telegraph, and highlights an apparently "increasing problem" in the UK dealing with foreigners being forced to leave their children there.
Here's the (slightly convoluted) backstory: The unnamed woman apparently traveled to England back in the summer of 2012 for a training course offered by her employer, Ryanair. But before returning home, she allegedly discovered she'd misplaced the passports of her two older daughters while standing in the airport, and proceeded to have a full-blown panic attack. (So far, all this sounds pretty understandable to us, but there's more...)
Panic-stricken, the mother for some reason decided to call the police, who took her into custody. There, they learned she was both pregnant and suffering from bipolar disorder, and promptly dropped her at a psychiatric facility.
Fast-forward an incredible five weeks later, and a British court ordered the pregnant woman's labor "to be enforced by way of Cesarean section." (What!?)
Even worse, on the day of the procedure (which she apparently didn't know was happening?) authorities refused to give the woman breakfast and instead sedated her against her will before performing the c-section. She then remained in a drug-induced stupor for another five weeks before she learned the awful truth of what had happened to her. It was only at that point that she was told she couldn't see her baby or take her home.
In the 15 months that have passed since the ordeal, the woman has returned to Italy, is actively treating her bipolar disorder and has petitioned for custody of her baby girl. Unfortunately, that petition has been unsuccessful. Her estranged American husband has even offered to give the baby a home with him and his family in Los Angeles. But that request has also been denied.
The story is just making headlines now that the case is set to go before Parliament this week. And it's definitely raising eyebrows.
"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," said John Hemming, who will be bringing the case before the court.
And as Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights organization Liberty, told the Guardian, "Please God there's more to this, 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."