Updated Aug 30, 2021, At 2:01 PM
The Cook County judge who took away a woman’s parental rights because she hadn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 rescinded that order Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to reports, Rebecca Firlit and her ex-husband of seven years were scheduled for a child support hearing via video call on Aug. 10 to determine their shared custody plan of their 11-year-old son.
Cook County Judge James Shapiro inquired about Firlit’s vaccination status and Firlit told the judge she did not receive the vaccine because of adverse reactions she has had to other vaccines.
The judge then ordered her to be stripped of her parental right to visit her son until she has been vaccinated.
“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 told local Fox-affiliate WFLD.
Firlit, who has spoken with her son on the phone and through video calls, hasn’t seen her son in over two weeks to remain in compliance with the judge’s order.
“It had nothing to do with what we were talking about,” she said of her vaccination status. “He was placing his views on me and taking my son away from me.”
Attorney Annette Fernholz, representing Firlit, says the judge is overstepping his boundaries.
“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 told WFLD.
Attorney Jeffrey Leving, who represents the boy’s father, was surprised by Shapiro’s decision but said they support it.
“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.
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