Two weeks ago, a heroic doctor delivered a baby while 30,000 feet in the air, on a flight from Taiwan to Los Angeles. This week, reports say that the Taiwanese woman whose labor diverted the plane to Alaska may be on the hook for $33,000. That’s because she may have planned to give birth in American airspace in order for her baby to gain American citizenship.

The Associated Press reports that the unnamed woman, who’s been sent back to Taiwan without her baby (for reasons that are not not totally clear), has been under suspicion since the story made headlines. That’s due to the fact that she lied to officials about how pregnant she was (36 weeks as opposed to under 32) in order to board the flight and allegedly asked the cabin crew, “Are we in U.S. airspace?” shortly before she went into labor. (This couldn’t be verified according to The AP.) A passenger told Inside Edition, however, that when she told customs about what happened on the plane, she was informed that women coming to America from other countries to give birth is not uncommon.

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If any of this is true, China Airlines may ask the new mother to pay at least $33,000, which was the cost of diverting the plane in order to make sure the child was safe. She may also be in legal trouble in Taiwan:

The incident has garnered widespread attention in Taiwan, even rising to the level of parliamentary debate earlier this week.

“This is a selfish act,” ruling party legislator Luo Shu-lei shouted to the transportation minister during a session Monday. “It was clearly an act carried out to give the child U.S. citizenship. She affected the travel of other passengers. Is there no punishment?”

Alaskan state officials say that the baby is eligible for American citizenship even though it was born in the air. In fact, according to authorities, the baby would have been eligible for citizenship even if it had been born in international airspace, just as long as America was the first place the baby arrived.


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.