A mother in Illinois has been stripped of her parental rights over her refusal to get the coronavirus vaccine.
According to FOX 32, Cook County Judge James Shapiro removed Rebecca Firlit’s visitation rights with her 11-year-old son after learning that she had not yet received the vaccine. Firlit said she would not take the vaccine after having had adverse reactions to them in the past.
“I miss my son more than anything. It’s been very difficult. I haven’t seen him since August 10th,” Firlit told FOX 32.
“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,” she added.
Firlit has been divorced from her husband for seven years; they share custody and parenting time with their son. From FOX 32:
She says out of the blue, Cook County Judge James Shapiro asked her whether she had been vaccinated. Firlit told Shapiro she had not because she has had bad reactions to vaccines in the past.
Shapiro then ordered that Firlit be stripped of all parenting time with her son until she gets vaccinated.
Over the past two weeks, Firlit has been able to talk to her son on the phone and through video calls, but has not seen him in person.
Firlit will be appealing the order, arguing that the judge has no grounds to take her visitation rights. Her attorney, Annette Fernholz, said the decision exceeds the judge’s jurisdiction.
“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,” Fernholz said.
“You have to understand the father did not even bring this issue before the court. So it’s the judge on his own and making this decision that you can’t see your child until you’re vaccinated,” Fernholz added.
The father’s attorney, Jeffrey Leving, said they agreed with the decision on the basis of protecting the child from an unvaccinated mother.
“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,” Leving said.