Babies across the US are suffering from horrific injuries — including hemorrhages, brain damage, and even strokes (yes, strokes, in babies) — because of parents refusing a vitamin K shot. This vitamin is needed to coagulate blood, and without it internal bleeding can result.

Vitamin K deficiency is rare in adults, but it doesn’t cross the placental barrier except in limited amounts, so newborn babies are generally low in it. That’s why it’s been a routine injection for infants for over 50 years — while vitamin K deficiency is not a big a risk as other problems, the shot is essentially 100% effective, and is quite safe.

Mind you, this is not a vaccine, which contains minuscule doses of killed or severely weakened microbes to prime the immune system. It’s a shot of a critical vitamin.

Nevertheless, as my friend Chris Mooney writes in Mother Jones, there is an overlap with the anti-vax and “natural health” community. As an example, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the Nashville, Tennessee area, over 3% of parents who gave birth in hospitals refused the injection overall, but in “natural birth” centers that rate shot up to 28%.

And this voice cannot be reasoned with. It resides in a part of our brains that is immune to rationality. It’s not difficult to apply our reason to the question of whether or not God exists. We simply look for evidence, and, when we see that there is none, we realize that the only reasonable choice is to abandon our faith and to become atheists or agnostics. But Catholic guilt isn’t like that. The irrationality of the messages that we were told as children is irrelevant. Evidence and reason are powerless against guilt and shame that is this pervasive, vicious, and persistent. For those of us who grew up with this indoctrination, faith in God is optional. Catholic guilt, though, is not.

I suppose it was inevitable. In fact, I’m a bit surprised it took this long. SGU Productions, the Society for Science-based medicine, and I are being sued for an article that I wrote in May of 2013 on Science-Based Medicine.

(…)

The claims and practice of Dr. Tobinick have many of the red flags of a dubious medical practice, of the sort that we discuss regularly on SBM. It seems that Dr. Tobinick does not appreciate public criticism of his claims and practice, and he wants me to remove the post from SBM. In my opinion he is using legal thuggery in an attempt to intimidate me and silence my free speech because he finds its content inconvenient.

Of course, we have no intention of removing the post as we feel it is critical to the public’s interest. This is what we do at SBM – provide an objective analysis of questionable or controversial medical claims so that consumers can make more informed decisions, and to advance the state of science in medicine.