A Florida mother, Sarah Markham, is currently fighting for custody of her baby after a child neglect scandal in June. Her 12-day-old son was losing weight and most likely dehydrated, and when she refused to take him to the hospital based on her religious and vegan beliefs, the state stepped in and arrested her. Markham is a Christian Seventh-Day Adventist and staunch vegan, following a “religion-based treatment” and trying to supply her baby with vegan soy milk instead of breast milk.
Following personal beliefs is one thing, but endangering a child’s life because of extremist views is an entirely different ballpark. To clarify, this is one woman’s extremist belief – this does not extend to the entire vegan community. Unfortunately, and especially when this story first broke back in June, there were a lot of shock-value headlines like “Veganism Is Child Abuse”, which is a little bizarre considering that her veganism becomes entirely irrelevant to the major underlying issue – the care of her child. It’s been five months since her child was taken away; Markham only allowed to see him a few times a week, and only whilst under supervision. As of Wednesday November 12th
, she was awarded custody of her son on the condition that she regularly visits a nutritionist, although she still faces criminal charges for neglect.
I’m a bit torn about where I stand on this story. On the one side I think it’s necessary for the government to step in when they feel it is necessary, but on the other hand I think a lot of the story was sensationalized, that vegan formula is perfectly healthy, and that 5 months is a long time for a mother to be kept away from her child. What I find really interesting is the comments from the article back in June, versus the ones on the newer story of her receiving custody again:
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She has regained custody of her son