Broadsheet article: Outrage as mentally ill woman forced to give birth in a stable*

*this is a fictional news story based on the nativity, written for a first year Writing unit assignment.

Roman policies have been brought into question again today following the dramatic birth of a child in a stable in the heart of Bethlehem.

Forced by the Roman Census Directive to return to his hometown to be counted, carpenter Joseph Isaacs, 22, travelled with his heavily pregnant wife, Mary, 14, to the city from Nazareth. Hit hard by the last year’s increases in taxation and licensing laws, like many other tradesmen, Joseph has had to make many cut backs and one consequence of this is that, late last night, he arrived in Bethlehem leading a donkey on which his wife travelled. Finding all the city’s accommodation to be full of people returning home for the Census tomorrow, Joseph was forced to beseech a publican for any space available and was eventually granted meagre lodgings on the floor of his stable.

Mary, the victim of considerable contention earlier this year following her claims that her conception out of wedlock was with the Holy Spirit, gave birth to a boy, named Jesus, on the floor of the stable amongst the animals housed there. Questions today have been raised that any woman —let alone one suffering from a mental illness such as Mary’s Theonatal Syndrome— should be subjected to such impoverished conditions merely to concur with an outdated policy such as the Census.

A spokesman for the Roman Council today only reaffirmed that the Census was a necessary procedure and such rare instances as last night’s were to be tolerated for the greater good.

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