A Michigan mother who was jailed after refusing to vaccinate her 9-year-old son said she would “do it all over again,” even though it led to her spending five days behind bars and losing primary custody of her child.
“I was trying to protect my kids,” Rebecca Bredow told ABC News Friday in her first interview since her release from jail. “I was trying to stand up for what I believed in, and it was worth it for me.”
Bredow, 40, was in contempt of court after she ignored an order from an Oakland County judge who told her she had one week to get her son vaccinated. The court initially ordered the vaccination in November 2016.
The judge took away Bredow’s primary custody of the child and said she would have to share guardianship with her ex-husband, James Horne, the AP reported.
“Never in a million years did I ever think that I would end up in jail standing up to try to protect my kids, and standing up for my beliefs,” Bredow told ABC. “Whether you are pro-vaccines or against vaccines, this is about the fact that my rights as a mother were taken away.”
The child was given four immunizations Monday, after Bredow’s ex-husband was granted shared custody, according to the AP.
Federal health officials say vaccinations are safe and can protect children and teenagers from more than a dozen potentially harmful diseases. Millions of children safely receive vaccines each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the court initially ordered the immunization in 2016, Bredow has cited religious objections, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Parents in Michigan are legally allowed to skip or delay their children’s vaccinations due to personal beliefs, according to the BBC. There is no civil or criminal penalty for refusing to vaccinate your child in the U.S., and every state allows parents to opt out for medical reasons, while some states permit parents to decline vaccinations due to philosophical or religious reasons. Bredow’s case is about her refusal to follow court orders she previously agreed to, according to the judge.