CHICAGO - A Chicago mother says a Cook County judge has taken away her parental rights after learning that she is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
In what all parties agree is a very unusual and perhaps unprecedented step, a judge at Chicago’s Daley Center has stripped Rebecca Firlit of custody because she refuses to get a vaccination shot.
"I miss my son more than anything. It's been very difficult. I haven't seen him since August 10th," Firlit told FOX 32 News in an exclusive interview.
That’s the day Firlit appeared in court via Zoom along with her ex-husband for a child support hearing involving their 11-year-old son. The two have been divorced for seven years and share custody and parenting time.
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.
"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.
Firlit is now appealing the court order, saying the judge has no business taking away her parental rights simply because she’s not vaccinated.