Rebecca Bredow has until Wednesday to get her son vaccinated — or go to jail.
As WXYZ reports, Bredow says that when her son was born, she and his father agreed to delay his vaccination schedule. According to The Washington Post, their son, who was born in 2008, has not had a vaccine since 2010.Screenshot/WXYZ News
Now, the couple (whose marriage was later annulled), is in a legal battle over their child’s care. Bredow wants to space out the vaccinations, but her ex-husband, James Horne, wants their child vaccinated according to the recommended schedule. The issue eventually made it to court, where a judge sided with Horne.
According to ABC News, in November 2016, a judge ordered Bredow to bring her son’s vaccinations up to date. Nearly a year later, she has yet to do so. In the video below, the Michigan mom told WXYZ:
“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 insists that her objection is not based on the vaccinations themselves, but in the grouping of them. She claims her research has persuaded her that grouping vaccines isn’t the right choice for her child. As she told ABC News:
“They want me to bring him up to the fullest extent medically allowed, which would be up to eight vaccines, in one dose. And this is supposed to be done before 9 a.m. on Wednesday.”
“God forbid if he were to be injured by a vaccine. I would have to take care of him.”
Michigan law allows parents to delay or skip vaccines, so long as the parents sign a waiver and attend a special class about the risks of their decisions. However, the law is intended to apply when the parents agree — which is not the case here.
Bredow told WXYZ her voice is not being heard:
“Why automatically side with the father that wants the vaccines? What about my choice as a mother?”
However, her ex-husband disagrees that the issue is about vaccines at all. His lawyer told ABC News that the real issue is Bredow’s refusal to comply with court orders about their son’s care:
“It is our position that this case is not truly about vaccinations. It is a case about Ms. Bredow refusing to comport with any number of the court’s orders and actively seeking to frustrate Mr. Horne’s joint legal custody rights.”
Bredow has made it clear that she is willing to go to jail rather than vaccinate her son. 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.”
According to Scientific American, parental concerns about the vaccine schedule are based more on misinformation from the internet than a real safety risk. Not only is there no evidence to show that delaying vaccines results in any benefit to the child, but a study published in Pediatrics found an increased risk of febrile seizures associated with delay of the measles vaccine.
Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told Scientific American:
“No vaccine can be put onto the schedule unless there is data showing it doesn’t interfere with the other vaccines’ [effectiveness] or safety. When you choose to spread out the vaccines, you’re making something up that hasn’t been tested. You don’t know how well that schedule will work whereas the CDC schedule is well-tested.”
With the clock ticking, Bredow still insists she’d rather go to jail then back down.
“I feel angry. I feel backed into a corner. I feel like my rights as a parent have been taken away,” she told WXYZ.