In what many people may call an unprecedented move, a judge sentenced a woman to jail for failing to vaccinate her son.
Now, the country is split between those who are standing with the Detroit mom and those who are demonizing her for her anti-vaccination stance.
WATCH: Michigan mom will spend 7 days in jail for failing to have her son vaccinated pic.twitter.com/XB2d0J1DVK— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 5, 2017
Rebecca Bredow was ordered last week to vaccinate her 9-year-old son, bringing him up to date with the vaccines recommended for his age within the week. On Wednesday, Judge Karen McDonald sentenced Bredow to serve time behind bars for contempt of court.
Telling the judge that she was personally opposed to vaccinating her son, Bredow ended up getting seven days in jail as a result.
On Twitter, many users said they felt bad about Bredow’s predicament, while others said she was putting her child’s safety and the safety of others at risk by not vaccinating her son.
All she had to do was subject her son to 7 vaccines that she felt were harmful to her child ...f that bs— Nicole Curtis (@nicolecurtis) October 5, 2017
Supporters of Rebecca Bredow outside Oakland Co. courthouse.— Brian Abel (@BrianAbelTV) October 4, 2017
She’s the mom facing deadline today to vaccinate her son or go to jail pic.twitter.com/Jxn776kAhS
Forgot to put in the father of the child who has custody too wants the child vaccinated so yeah there’s that part— Donald capeau (@DCapeau) October 6, 2017
She'll be the one who brings back smallpox. Her son won't be inoculated, he'll play in some funky god-knows-what area where he'll pick it up— Merry Reymond (@MerryRey) October 6, 2017
Bredow, who had been getting court orders telling her to vaccinate her son since November 2016, shares custody of her two children with her ex-husband, who wants their 9-year-old fully vaccinated.
"I would rather sit behind bars for standing up for what I believe in than giving into something I strongly don't believe in,” Bredow told reporters.
In the U.S., the states set immunization policies. As it stands, very few states allow individuals to forego immunization efforts on medical, religious, or philosophical grounds, and Michigan is one of them.
Technically, Bredow’s claim that she wouldn’t vaccinate her son on philosophical grounds would be protected by Michigan law. Still, the judge told her during her hearing that the father deserves a say, upholding his wishes over the mother’s.
Regardless of what you feel about vaccines, it’s important to note that many preventable diseases can be avoided simply by allowing your child to get the immunization. However, the anti-vaccination movement has grown steadily over the years.
This case has sparked the looming question whether this mother was truly cheated by the system, or if she was, indeed, putting the life of her child in danger in a way that prompted the judge to intervene.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Rebecca Naden