In a recent report by ABC news, Rebecca Bredow indicated that she would “absolutely” rather go to jail than vaccinate her son. Her former husband, on the other hand wants to follow a regular vaccination schedule and she is refusing to do so.
The American Academy of Pediatrics consider vaccinations safe, effective and the most significant medical innovation of our time. Notwithstanding, Rebecca Bredow feels otherwise. While there is no requirement that parents vaccinate a child, a legal issue arises when parents disagree.
In almost every Michigan child custody case, parents are awarded joint legal custody, which means both parents jointly determine the necessity of elective medical care. When parents disagree, a Michigan custody court will conduct a hearing and make a decision.
In a recent immunization case similar to the Bredow matter, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the circuit court to have the children immunized unless the administration of any vaccination is medically contraindicated. This occurred in the case of Kagen v. Kagen.
In the Kagen case, the Court of Appeals directed the circuit court to determine if securing vaccinations for the parties’ minor children was in the children’s best interest and the trial court conducted a hearing, admitting evidence “bearing absolutely no indicia of reliability”. The unreliable evidence included a list of vaccine ingredients from Wikipedia.com, an article from Dr. Brownstein’s Holistic Medicine Blog entitled “Should Mickey and Minnie Mouse be Vaccinated” and an article from Snopes.com in support the position that the children should not be vaccinated. The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision not to vaccinate the children, rejecting Mrs. Kagen’s anti-vaccination argument.
The Court of Appeals in the Kagen case navigated through the misinformation regarding immunization by empowering the children’s treating pediatrician, and requiring the children to be immunized unless the administration of any vaccination is medically contraindicated.
As joint legal custodians, when Mr. & Mrs. Bredow no longer agreed on the issue of vaccinating their child, the trial court had to make a decision. In doing so, it likely relied on medical evidence vs. misinformation regarding vaccination. As a result, Ms. Bredow may very well go to jail.
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By: Daniel Findling