Vegan mom has sick baby taken away and is arrested for refusing care

There are SEVERAL disturbing points in this article, the gist of which is that the woman seems to be extremely attached to her beliefs, some of which are misinformed and appear to make her unfit to care for her baby.

Casselberry mom refused to take child to hospital over vegan beliefs | News – Home.

A Casselberry mother was arrested on allegations of refusing to take her newborn, diagnosed by a doctor as dehydrated, to a hospital because of her staunch vegan stance.

Sarah Anne Markham was arrested Tuesday on a charge of child neglect.

Police said Markham told them that she wanted to pursue a religious-based treatment and did not believe that her baby was dehydrated because the child was having bowel movements.

Markham said she did not give the formula/medicine that the doctor provided because she did not agree with the ingredients, which she said came from animals, the police report stated.

Markham said she purchased organic soy formula, and when asked if she confirmed with a doctor if it was safe for a newborn, she said that if Whole Foods Market sells it then the formula doesn’t contain any animal parts and, therefore, must be safe, according to police.

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Once again, your personal beliefs do not trump the welfare of your child. How many times do we have to see this? Not only her beliefs about veganism but also she seems very misinformed about medication and Whole Foods products. Many questions remain. If she is so big on natural, why isn’t she breast-feeding? (Or is that an animal product? Yes, I’m pushing this but this story is about extremes. Where do you draw the line?) Will she be able to keep the child? This is frightening and raises many issues about children’s welfare with extremist parents, not much different that those that eschew conventional medical care for their kids. Is it right for society to step in and say you gave this child life, we must intervene to save its life.

Addition: It turns out she felt the police did not have authority either. She’s really out of touch with the real world.

Tip: Graham Donald

  19 comments for “Vegan mom has sick baby taken away and is arrested for refusing care

  1. Marcus
    June 27, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    I’m a vegan, and have yet to meet a vegan who thinks breastfeeding isn’t vegan. Our *own* species is fine, it’s the exploitation of other species that causes the issue.

    The other point is, people love latching onto the vegan aspect of this, and apply it across the board, as though there were no non-vegan parents who had ever caused this same sort of thing to happen. It sounds more like this person was ill-educated on a range of topics – child health and veganism *amongst* them.

    Sadly, I fear this will degenerate into people complaining about how crazy vegans are, basing their views entirely on select incidents, and branding all of them as “extremists”.

  2. June 27, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    That’s why I tried to point out that it’s extremism and misinformation, not just belief. The majority of vegan or fundamentalist parents do not put their kids as such risks.

  3. John Nowak
    June 27, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    >Is it right for society to step in and say you gave this child life, we must intervene to save its life.

    That’s the big question.

    I think just about everyone would agree there is a point where there needs to be intervention. The question is where and why.

  4. Bill T.
    June 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    In the two storys cited, there are no statements attributed to Ms. Markham (that I saw, did I miss it?) where it was aledged she stated that this was due to explicitly “vegan” beliefs. The only statements I saw attributed to her were that she wanted a “religious-based treatment” and would seek help from a “”natural” or “vegan” doctor”.

    So, what I get from the storys is that she may only have a “vegan” compatible belief system as opposed to an explicitly vegan philosophy.

    This is maybe splitting hairs, or possibly there’s another source that I haven’t looked at. In any case, it appears extremist to me to ignore advice of trained professionals. It’s important to learn what one is qualified to have an opinion on and where that qualification stops.

  5. Bill T.
    June 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Oh, and the vegan-compatible statement “… she did not agree with the ingredients, which she said came from animals …”.

  6. June 27, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Although I’m not vegan, I think Marcus’ first point is on the mark (or Marc). If I understand, a vegan objects not to the very concept of animal use, per se, but to the exploitation or use by others of an animal without their “consent.” (I’m not sure of the terminology there so I’m just using the first term that comes to mind.) Thus, a mother goat could feed her young since she is only exploiting (in the neutral sense) her own natural resources.

    In the case of this particular story, I’m guessing that there are other psychological issues (maybe several) at work with the mother and that veganism, religion and politics are all vaguely jumbled together in her head.

  7. Lagaya1
    June 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    I’m also a 10-year vegan, and i don’t know anyone who would think it wrong to breastfeed a child.

    I’m not sure how anyone can care for animals, but let their own offspring suffer. Something else is going on here.

  8. terrence
    June 27, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Here is a link to an article about a vegan woman who breastfeed her baby and IT DIED – from the standard vitamin deficiencies that ALL vegans get unless they ingest several bucket loads of vitamins several times a day.

    All vegans also should check what Denise Minger says about her 20 years as a vegan…

  9. Justin
    June 27, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Let me say this. From my experiences there are many more uninformed “vegans” that put personal preference before comon sense and good judgment. There are not as many who actually understand what being a vegan is. People that I consider to be actual vegans aren’t just making a lifestyle out of it. They put in the time and energy to truly understand what it is they are doing. This women is putting her child at risk by being willfully ignorant, like the antivaccs people. She’s ignoring reality and substitute her own. She should have her child taken. If she’s that stubborn in her beliefs and that blindly ignorant of the world at large. She should never have had a child to begin with.

  10. Lagaya1
    June 27, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    So lucky that we vegans have someone like you to tell us what “actual” vegans are; But really it’s not complicated at all. If we take a Vitamin B12, we’re fine. All those myths about food combining and stuff are just myths. If you want to lump us in with anti vaxers and alt-medders, that’s up to you, but that has nothing to do with people who just want to live with awareness of our impact on other creatures.

  11. June 27, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    I’m not sure about this. Need more than just one article. Most vegans aren’t deficient but I do know it takes a TON of calories to produce milk.

  12. June 27, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    @Lagay1 – To spare Justin the trouble of entering the fray again, I believe he was in fact making a proper distinction between those who might call themselves “vegan” but with little understanding and those who put the time and energy into understanding. Thus he was pointing out that one might be a foolish person who spouts the vegan name but without much understanding and therefore is really no better than an anti-vaxxer. Since there’s no pope speaking ex-cathedra or ayatollah issuing a fatwah on what is or is not proper veganism, the field is kind of open to anyone declaring themselves a proponent.

    IMHO, vegans are indeed lucky to have someone making the distinction.

  13. terrence
    June 27, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    This is NOT an isolated example.
    I just googled “vegan women who breastfeed her baby” and got over 3 MILLION hits – from the USA, Europe.

    Some of these mothers also used homeopathic “remedies”.

    In any case, there are lots of parents who have been charged with negligence, and negligence causing death, after their baby dies while being breastfed by a vegan mother.

    I used to keep track of them; but there was so many it got boring.

    Vegans are not only deficient in vitamin B12, but also zinc, calcium, and other nutrients humans can not get from vegetables (unless they eat several pounds each and every day).

  14. June 27, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    You need to start citing actual references, then. You are over-generalizing. More non-vegans use homeopathic remedies by the numbers so let’s not go all logical fallacies here.

  15. Lagaya1
    June 27, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    3 million google hits does not equal 3 million cases. It’s meaningless. You can probably get similar results googling “meat, heart disease”. Completely meaningless how many hits it brings.

  16. Kelleen
    June 28, 2014 at 2:46 AM

    There are also stories in the news these days about vegan/vegetarian zealots (NOT coming down on true, healthy vegan/veg, as I am one) who are refusing to feed their pets anything with animal products in them. It is possible (with research, careful feeding, and supplements) to do this with some animals, while it will KILL others (like cats). Some people need to rein the crazy in a bit.

  17. Chris Howard
    July 1, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Her veganism is irrelevant to the underlying issue which is delusional beliefs causing harm to an other, or others.

    Her beliefs direct her actions.

    If her beliefs are more accurately aligned with objective reality then there isn’t an issue, because she’s not denying facts.

    Therefore she would be more likely to minimize potentially harmful issues, like the one we’re seeing here, because when ones beliefs are based on the most accurate perception of objective reality we tend to behave better and subsequently experience better outcomes.

    Just take a day trip to a psychiatric hospital to see the harmful affects of having highly incorrect, or delusional, perceptions of objective reality. Not good.

    Actually, just look at the myriad harmful political decisions, again effecting millions of people, in the U.S. based upon flawed or delusional beliefs:

    Global warming denial, abstinence only programs, Just Say No, voodoo economics, anti-science agendas, legitimate rape, anti-critical thinking (it’s an official plank of the Texas Republican Party), reparative therapy, slut shaming (based on Bronze Age religious beliefs), ignoring gun violence statistics, disavowing mountains of data on poverty because it doesn’t jive with an ideology etc., etc., etc…

    We’re a nation of the proud and willfully ignorant, who tend to fetishize the “right” to believe what ever we want, no matter what the consequences may be.

    Many of us are completely oblivious to the fact that we don’t live in a vacuum, and as such our behaviors, which stem from our beliefs, impact those around us.

    Or we just don’t care.

    If a person is unable, or unwilling to make rational, humane, and ethical decisions that effect others then it’s time to take care of those things for them.

    Until such a time as they possess a healthy mental state, level of maturity, or compassionate and ethical awareness of the impact their beliefs and actions have on others.

    The philosophical, and legal term for that is a moral agent, or moral agency.

    Having passionate beliefs are monstrous when you’re passionately wrong. When you can’t concede to truth then faith and conviction aren’t virtues, they’re the worst kind of evil.

  18. MisterNeutron
    July 1, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    I wish I could find the study, but it was done many, many years ago. At a veterinary school, they figured out the precise nutritional requirements for a domestic cat, and found that one food source satisfied all of those needs, almost perfectly: mouse. Ain’t evolution grand?

  19. smh
    July 18, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Ancillary to Chris Howards post… My guess is Cluster A and/or B personality disorder is the real issue here.

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