Michigan — Casting a spotlight on a highly controversial issue, a Michigan mother was jailed Wednesday for refusing to have her nine-year-old son vaccinated, the Associated Press reports.
The case stems from a legal agreement the woman, Rebecca Bredow, had with her ex-husband to space out vaccinations for their son. When the shots began to get grouped together, the mother says, she grew concerned.
“It wasn’t until they started grouping them together that I backed off of doing vaccines,” Bredow told local WXYZ.
She says she began to study the subject and found she no longer believed in the practice of vaccinations. The county judge, however, held her to her previous agreement, and on Wednesday she sentenced her to seven days in jail for contempt of court.
“I understand you love your children. But what I don’t think you understand is that your son has two parents, and dad gets a say,” Judge Karen McDonald told Bredow in court, noting that her attorney had signed the agreement with the ex-husband.
Bredow told McDonald she takes “full responsibility” and that yes, she should have raised her concerns sooner. But now, she says, if she were forced to vaccinate her child, “I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”
On September 27, while speaking to WXYZ, Bredow said she was willing to accept jail as a consequence for being true to her new stance on the touchy issue of vaccinations:
“I would rather sit behind bars standing up for what I believe in, than giving in to something I strongly don’t believe in.”
As a mother, however, she feels the state is overstepping its bounds:
“I feel angry. I feel backed into a corner. I feel like my rights as a parent have been taken away.”
Bredow is the primary caregiver of the boy in question. Judge McDonald placed him in the temporary custody of his father while Bredow serves her seven-day sentence. McDonald also, as the Associated Press writes, “ordered the boy to be properly vaccinated.”