Protesters showed up outside a Michigan courtroom Wednesday as a mom was jailed for refusing to obey court orders mandating she vaccinate her nine-year-old son. Detroit resident Rebecca Bredow was sentenced to a week in jail for disobeying an Oakland County circuit court judge’s decree to get her son up-to-date on vaccinations.
Judge Karen McDonald wrote that Bredow had signed an agreement to immunize her son in November 2016, and that no appeal of the order, which stemmed from a custody battle, was ever received. Bredow indicated last week she had no plans to follow the judge’s orders, and insisted she’d sooner go to jail than vaccinate her son.
“I would rather sit behind bars standing up for what I believe in, than giving in to something I strongly don’t believe in,” Bredow told WXYZ a week ago.
Bredow says she originally agreed with her ex-husband to space out vaccines, but grew more concerned after researching and learning multiple shots would be administered at once.
“It wasn’t until they started grouping them together that I backed off of doing vaccines,” Bredow said.
“These are combo shots that could be up to 40 vaccines at once,” Bredow told CBS Detroit. “So, I mean that’s pretty serious. That’s a lot of vaccines to inject into your child at once.”
Bredow said she was never informed of her ex’s desire to vaccinate their son, and that the court decided upon the order without her input.
“I never was aware that he wanted vaccination, so he brought it to the judge’s attention that the child hasn’t been brought up to vaccination and she just ruled on it, vaccinate the child,” Bredow explained. “They never gave me the opportunity to have a hearing on the vaccination part of it, they just ruled on it without me being there… without ever having heard my side of the story or why I haven’t vaccinated.”
The mother of two believes the judge’s own “pro-vaccine” stance also played a part in the decision.
“Right now, from my point of view, I feel that it’s the judge’s personal belief. She’s pro-vaccine, which is fine, we have that choice,” Bredow told CBS last week. “But I am fully compliant with all of the state laws, the vaccine waivers. I’ve educated myself on vaccines.”
Ultimately Bredow says the judge has revoked her rights as a parent to do what she believes is right for her own children.
“Whether it be that I space them out or delay them or choose not to do them at all, it’s the fact that the court’s telling me that I have to do this,” she said. “They’re taking my rights as a mother, as a parent, to make these informed choices away from me — and I am being told I have to do something that they believe is right.”
A protester outside the courthouse told CBS she was proud of Bredow for standing up for what she believed in.
“I don’t think that going to jail is never good, but I think it’s important that people stand for what they believe,” the demonstrator said. “I don’t think she could live with herself; I know I couldn’t live with myself if I was forced to make a decision that goes against everything I believe in.”
— Charlie Langton (@charlielangton) October 4, 2017
CBS reports Bredow’s son is currently in his father’s custody.
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