Last Wednesday I shared the story of a woman giving birth on a China Airlines flight from Taipei to Los Angeles. Once it was clear she was going into labor they diverted the flight to Anchorage, though she still gave birth 30 minutes before landing.
There was even a video on YouTube of the woman giving birth, with the flight attendants at her side helping:
There were some questions which arose after this story surfaced, including:
- Does the baby get US citizenship?
- How was the woman allowed to fly if she was so pregnant?
- Did she intentionally get on a flight in hopes of her baby having US citizenship?
Well, it looks like we now have the answers to most our questions, per The China Post.
First of all, the baby is eligible for an Alaska state birth certificate, and therefore eligible for US citizenship. The parents just need to fill out an application form, which costs $30. Here’s the relevant law:
According to Alaska Dispatch News, Sarana Schell, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), said in an email Thursday afternoon that under state statutes on birth registration, the child is eligible for an Alaska birth certificate, regardless of the state’s 12-mile territorial limit.
“(A) child born in international airspace and then brought into (Alaska) will have her or his birth registered here,” Schell said. “It doesn’t hinge on how far out the child was born, it hinges on him or her getting out of a moving conveyance here.”
The mother has been deported back to Taiwan, though no official explanation has been given as to why that happened. As a result, the baby is in the care of family friends in the US.
While I can’t independently confirm the accuracy of this, the story also cites a former China Airlines flight attendant, who makes the following claims, which suggests the woman specifically took this trip in hopes of getting US citizenship for the baby:
Meanwhile, in a widely reported story, a former China Airlines flight attendant that goes by the name of Xiao Chen online expressed her anger on social media, revealing that the pregnant woman reportedly hid the fact that she was pregnant, and even while the cabin crew was helping her deliver the baby, she would asked them intermittently, “Have we reached American airspace yet?”
According to Chen, the cabin crew noticed the woman was experiencing sudden pain and discovered that she was pregnant. However, the woman insisted she was only feeling gassy, the flight attendant said.
I’m curious to see how this plays out further. It’s sort of sad that the mom has to be separated from the baby so early on, but I guess that’s what happens if you intentionally break the rules… which seems to be what happened here.