In an unprecedented case, on August 28th, a Cook County judge in Chicago decided to strip a mother of parental rights for not having received the COVID vaccine.
Mrs. Rebecca Firlit, visibly moved, told Fox 32 Chicago TV channel that last Aug. 10, in a virtual hearing with her ex-husband to discuss the support of their 11-year-old son, Judge James Shapiro asked her if she was vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The mom replied that because she had adverse reactions on past occasions to other vaccines, she opted not to get the Covid vaccine.
She and her ex-husband have been divorced for seven years and have shared custody and parenting time.
In the face of Ms. Firlit’s negative response, Judge Shapiro ordered that she be stripped from the custody of her son until she had been vaccinated and since that day that she cannot see her son in person.
“I miss my son more than anything. It’s been very difficult,” Ms. Firlit lamented as she shed tears.
“I think that it’s wrong. I think that it’s dividing families. And I think it’s not in my son’s best interest to be away from his mother,” Firlit said. “It had nothing to do with what we were talking about. He was placing his views on me. And taking my son away from me.”
The woman said she appealed the judge’s decision and is awaiting a response.
Her attorney, Dr. Annette Fernholz, also opined that the judge’s decision was an outrageous trampling of her client’s rights.
“In this case you have a judge, without any matter before him regarding the parenting time with the child deciding ‘Oh, you’re not vaccinated. You don’t get to see your child until you are vaccinated.’ That kind of exceeds his jurisdiction,” the attorney said.
Dr. Fernholz said neither the child’s father nor his attorney filed complaints about the matter. Instead, the judge directly unilaterally decided that the mom can’t see her child because she is not vaccinated against the CCP virus.
But Dr. Jeffrey Leving, attorney for the boy’s father, while admitting that they were surprised by the judge’s decision, opined that the mother should obey the judge given the severity of the pandemic.
“There are children who have died because of COVID. I think every child should be safe. And I agree that the mother should be vaccinated,” the father’s attorney asserted.
Dr. Leving believes the judge is setting precedents that could apply to other custody cases. However, there is no estimated date as to when the appellate court will rule.