the families

Kathleen and David Tyson (Eugene, OR) were shocked to discover that Kathleen was HIV+ during her seventh month of pregnancy. But when their son Felix was born, they refused HIV drug treatment for him because of their concerns about side effects. Kathleen also wanted to breastfeed Felix against her doctor’s orders. The hospital contacted Child Protective Services; four days later, the state of Oregon took legal custody of Felix Tyson.

Valerie Emerson (Kenduskaeg, ME) found out that she was HIV+ during the pregnancy of her fourth child. Two of her other children, Tia and Nikolas, also tested positive. After several years of  failed AZT treatments with horrific side effects, Valerie refused to enroll Nikolas in an experimental drug trial. A doctor reported Valerie to the Maine Department Human Services who sought to remove Nikolas from Valerie’s custody.

Christine Maggiore (Los Angeles, CA) tested HIV+ in 1992. Four years later she discovered she was pregnant with her first child, Charlie. Christine and her husband, Robin, chose not to test Charlie, or their second child, Eliza Jane. Christine breastfed both children even after being anonymously reported to Child Protective Services. The devastating events that followed thrust Christine and Robin into the center of a firestorm of controversy about the rights of parents to make controversial medical decisions for their children,