Michael Schmitt wants his 2-year-old daughter vaccinated. Lori Matheson, Schmitt’s ex-wife and the girl’s mother, does not.
Now, the couple’s disagreement is before a circuit court judge in Michigan who will decide whether the girl will receive the shots.
Matheson objects to vaccines on health and religious grounds, she said, according to the Daily Tribune News. She said she is concerned her daughter could have a medical condition that would be triggered by a vaccine and wants to wait to have the child genetically tested before she is vaccinated.
"I believe that you have the right to make that decision for your child," Matheson said in her testimony Monday, according to the Detroit Free Press. "I feel I have done my research."
She said she is also opposed to vaccines on religious grounds because some shots are “cultured in the aborted fetal cells.” She also said some vaccines have animal blood in them, the Free Press said.
An area pediatrician, Dr. Daniel Schnaar, told WJBK that Matheson’s assertions about the origin of vaccines are not medically factual. “If I had to testify I would say that vaccines are not made from aborted fetuses,” Schnaar said.
Michigan law allows parents not to vaccine their children, but they must obtain a waiver from the health department. As of January 2015, parents must attend an educational session on vaccines to be eligible for the waiver. According to Patch, Michigan for Vaccine Choice is trying to remove that requirement.
Matheson and Schmitt’s daughter doesn’t attend preschool or a daycare facility, according to the Daily Tribune News, which means she isn’t currently subjected to Michigan immunization standards. Further shots are required as a student enters the seventh grade.
Oakland County Circuit Judge Karen McDonald said that despite Matheson’s objections to immunization, “Dad gets a say.” She also expressed frustration that Matheson and her attorney didn’t offer any other witnesses.
"How am I supposed to make a determination about whether a child should be vaccinated if you're not going to present any evidence at all from anyone other than your client, who's not a doctor, not a medical professional?" McDonald asked Matheon’s attorney, according to the Free Press. "You can't just put her on the stand and ask her what she's read and who she's talked to. This is a court. We have rules. I was expecting you to bring forth medical profession so that the court can make a meaningful determination."
Last week, a similar immunization case was before the same judge. Rebecca Bredow objected to vaccinating her son, while the boy’s father wanted him to have the shots. McDonald sentenced Bredow to seven days in jail while the boy’s father has temporary custody of him. According to WXYZ, that child had received vaccinations before he was 1 year old.