Aliea Bidwell and Ben Gray were as excited as any other couple when their baby boy was born. Vaccine blackmail was the furthest thought from their minds. But because a pediatrician on call didn’t like their decision to refuse a vaccine, she threatened to kidnap their newborn (through legal channels, of course), if they did not consent on day one to something they neither wanted nor felt was worth the risks. It was vaccine blackmail. They were given no choice.
Aliea and Ben are certainly not the first parents to refuse vaccines, and the hospital staff showed no indication of any problem with honoring their request, until Dr. Terry M. Bierd, MD, staff pediatrician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, came in. It was the hepatitis B vaccine that was the problem. She told baby Aaron’s family that if they did not allow her to give the hepatitis B vaccine, she would call security and DHR (Alabama’s Child Protective Services). The baby would be given the vaccine anyway, at 12 hours old, and then be taken into state custody.
Because it was a Friday evening, Dr. Bierd told Aliea and Ben that they would have to figure out how to get their baby back after the weekend. However, it is not illegal to refuse vaccines in Alabama, as well as most other states.
Whether one is pro- or anti-vaccines, most Americans support the right of parents to make choices for their children. Some parents who are fully supportive of vaccines may choose to refuse a particular vaccine, and the Hepatitis B vaccine is one of the more commonly refused. Vaccine blackmail by a doctor, with the threat of state-sanctioned kidnapping, is a violation of basic American liberties, according to this Alabama couple.
After admission to the hospital toward the end of her short labor, Aliea Bidwell birthed her firstborn child naturally. Aaron was born on Friday morning, March 14, at 9:26 am, weighing 7 lbs, 11 oz. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9, at one and five minutes respectively – the picture of health. He was successfully breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. Grandparents Vesta and Ralph Bidwell were present with the happy new family and celebrated the arrival of their first grandchild.
Just a few hours later, their world imploded. Their “choice” was to submit to something that both generations were opposed to on religious and philosophical grounds, or have their newest member of the family be taken in a doctor-sanctioned kidnapping. They saw it as nothing less than vaccine blackmail.