Rebecca Bredow, a mom from Ferndale, Michigan, was sentenced to 7 days in jail after refusing to bring her son’s vaccinations up to date. She told The Washington Post:
I can’t give in against my own religious belief. This is about choice. This is about having my choices as a mother to be able to make medical choices for my child.”
Brewdow is embroiled in a custody battle with her ex-husband, James Horne. They divorced shortly after their son was born in 2008. The boy was not vaccinated in his first 3 months of life and he has not received any vaccinations since 2010, when he was about 2 years old.
Horne has been in court since last year trying to get the boy fully vaccinated. In November 2016, a judge sided with Horne and ordered Bredow to get the boy’s vaccinations up-to-date.
Judge Karen McDonald gave Bredow a deadline of September 27 to start getting her son vaccinated. After the deadline passed last week, Horne was awarded temporary primary custody of the child. Bredow was held in contempt of court and jailed yesterday morning.
Bredow did file a vaccine waiver with the boy’s school citing religious exemptions, but lawyers for Horne called the waiver “a convenient lie” and argued that Bredow and her current husband “testified that they do not practice the tenets of any organized religion.”
For parents who are divorcing, vaccine advocates recommend making it clear in the settlement who will be making decisions about their child’s health — including vaccinations — to avoid this type of conflict.