Mother who was jailed for refusing to vaccinate son: I would ‘do it all over again’
(DETROIT) -- The Michigan mother who was sentenced to jail last week for refusing a court order to vaccinate her son -- and who has since lost primary custody of her son -- said she would "do it all over again."
"I was trying to protect my kids," Rebecca Bredow, who lives in the Detroit area, told ABC News. "I was trying to stand up for what I believed in, and it was worth it for me to try and take the risk, because I was trying to stop the vaccinations from happening."
"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 added.
She said her time in jail "was the longest five days of my life."
Despite losing primary custody of her son, spending five days in jail and the fact that her son was vaccinated anyway, Bredow said standing up for her beliefs "was worth it."
Last week, a judge sentenced Bredow to seven days in jail for refusing to bring her son's vaccinations up to date. Prior to going to jail, Bredow told ABC News that she and her then-husband, Jason Horne, had initially agreed to space out vaccinations for their young son. She and Horne separated in 2008, and she said last week that Horne now wanted their son to receive all of his vaccinations, and she refused.
There are no known benefits for children from delaying vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who delay vaccines are also at risk of developing diseases during the time that they delay their vaccinations, the CDC added.
Young children also have the highest risk of developing a serious case of disease, according to the CDC. Delaying vaccines leaves children vulnerable at the time when they need the most protection from vaccines.
Bredow said her 9-year-old son's understanding of the situation is limited.
"The court has ordered that I'm not allowed to speak with him about it, which is kind of hard. He's almost 10 years old, so he understands more than the court would say I'm allowed to explain to him," Bredow said. "I don't know what his father has said to him, so I don't know what he's thinking right now."
Bredow said she has received an "overwhelming amount of support" from her community. "It's helped me get through this, truly," she added.
Benton G. Richardson, a lawyer for Bredow's ex-husband, declined ABC News' request for comment Thursday, but said in a statement last week that "this case is not truly about vaccinations."
Richardson added that Bredow and Horne have been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle, and a court sided with Horne in November 2016, ordering Bredow to vaccinate her son.
Court documents obtained by ABC News state that a court first asked Bredow to get immunizations for her son in November 2016, but state that as of September 2017, the child had not been vaccinated.
"It is our position that this case is not truly about vaccinations," Richardson said. "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 denied the claims of her ex-husband's attorney.
"I have been the primary caregiver of my child since he was born. This was not leverage in any way," she said.
Bredow said she is planning on appealing and gaining back primary custody of her son.
The state of Michigan allows parents to opt out of certain vaccines for non-medical reasons. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, emphasizes the safety and importance of vaccines in a statement on their website.
"Vaccines have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are the most significant medical innovation of our time," the group said. "Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives."
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