After ruling in two cases where divorced parents disagreed about vaccines, a Detroit judge is facing online harassment and even death threats from people opposed to vaccines.
Oakland County Circuit Judge Karen McDonald has vaccine deniers, or anti-vaxxers, upset with her ruling that a 9-year-old boy must be immunized regardless of objections from his mother. In another case, McDonald questioned the credentials of a witness who was brought to argue that vaccines are harmful.
According to the Detroit Free Press, videos posted online called for McDonald’s “execution,” with one saying that it’s “time to kill” the judge. Another person said it’s time to “put a bullet in that f*cking judge’s head.” One person posted a video on YouTube titled, “Why Judge Karen McDonald must die a painful death.”
“If she can get away with this, the b*tch has got to die. The b*tch has got to die,” the person reportedly said.
McDonald said that although the videos were unnerving for her and her staff, she will remain undeterred.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to do what I was elected to do and make decisions based on what is in the best interests of children,” McDonald said. “I’m going to do it after I listen to the facts and hear both sides. The fact that judges have to endure threats of physical violence via social media with virtually no protection or recourse is another matter and one that needs to be addressed.”
From The Detroit Free Press:
Earlier this month, McDonald sent a Ferndale mother, Rebecca Bredow, to jail for ignoring a court order to vaccinate her 9-year-old son. Court pleadings show that Bredow agreed months ago to the vaccinations. But her current attorney, Clarence Dass, told the Free Press those pleadings were filed in error by a lawyer who no longer represents her.
Bredow emerged from a five-day jail stint to learn that her son had been vaccinatedwhile in custody of his father. She’s asking McDonald to halt any additional vaccines.
In the second case, Lori Matheson refused to allow her 2-year-old daughter to be immunized. Her ex-husband, Michael Schmitt, wants just the opposite.
Matheson testified for more than an hour about her religious and personal objections to vaccines and later called Dr. Toni Lynn Bark, an Evanston, Ill., doctor as a witness to argue against vaccinations.
Bark testified that she has practiced in pediatrics, emergency medicine and adversonomics, the study of adverse reactions to vaccines. McDonald seemed skeptical and refused to consider Bark a vaccine expert, though she allowed her to testify about the things she has done in her own practice.
The anti-vax movement has been around for almost a decade and has a huge presence online, drawing its belief system from a roundly-debunked study led by Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor who had his medical license revoked over his fraudulent claims. The main claim of the movement centers around the false notion that ingredients in vaccines are linked to autism and other illnesses/conditions in children.
Numerous studies have concluded that the vaccine-autism link does not exist.
Featured image via Detroit Free Press