This shocking and horrific story came to light yesterday across newspapers and television stations. It tells of a Bipolar woman who neglected to take her medication (as many Bipolars are prone to do - me included), had a panic attack, was restrained and then sectioned. As difficult as it was to read that someone was sectioned for a panic attack, what makes this situation far worse is that the woman in question was also heavily pregnant. She was sedated and social services obtained a high court order to proceed with a caesarean section at which point they took her baby from her and 18 months later refuse to give her daughter back and are attempting to put baby up for adoption. Their alleged position is that the mother may again forget her medication and end up in a similar situation.
Now in what world is a panic attack cause for removing a child from their mother? In what world is it okay to prevent a mother access to her child because she has a mental illness of which she has no control over? A "dystopian science-fiction unworthy of a democracy" as said by Shami Chakrabarti, director of Human Rights group Liberty. She continues to say "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."
There are many solutions that would ensure the safety of the mother and child: weekly meetings with a psychiatric nurse to ensure she is taking her meds appropriately and is not showing signs of mania or depression; a social worker who visits weekly to check on the safety of both of them; and a strong psychiatric counselor who can help her deal with any other issues and keep an eye on how she's dealing with any panic attacks. Now I don't know the full story behind this, but it seems to me that to take the option they did is lazy and ignores other possibilities that may cost the state more, but are far more reasonable. I am beyond disgusted and in fact terrified that this could happen to me one day. I look forward to having children in the future and hope to God that they will never be taken from me because I suffer from a treatable disorder. Dystopia indeed.
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