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Florida mom could face criminal charges for vegan formula

One of the rights that Americans value the most is the ability to dictate the methods used to raise one's children. Parental rights have been upheld in a wide range of court cases. One Florida woman, however, has been challenged for her decision to feed her baby according to a vegan diet, and is currently facing criminal charges, as well as the loss of her child custody rights.

The woman follows a vegan lifestyle, in which no animal products are consumed. When doctors examined her infant child, it was determined that the baby was underweight. Doctors advised the woman that she should supplement her breastfeeding efforts with prepared formula. However, the mother decided not to use the provided formula, due to the fact that it contains animal products.

She also declined to take the infant to the hospital to address dehydration and a 10 percent drop in body weight. A result, she was arrested, and the child was taken away by Child Protective Services. As of the time of this report, the mother is only permitted to spend time with her infant during supervised visits.

An attorney representing this Florida mother asserts that the criminal charges of neglect are unfounded and that the choices made by the woman were within the scope of responsible parenting. The child was reportedly given a soy-based infant formula sold by the health food chain Whole Foods, in addition to breastmilk. As the case moves forward, many parents will watch to see how the court balances the right of a parent to make nutrition choices for her child with the concerns held by CPS concerning the child's overall health and well-being.   

Source: The Huffington Post, "Vegan Mom Sarah Markham Faces Criminal Charges Over Underweight Baby", Andres Jauregui, Nov. 12, 2014

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