A Chicago woman experienced a mother’s worst nightmare when a judge took away her visitation rights to see her 11-year-old son. The reason? Because she has not received the COVID-19 vaccine. In what the Chicago Sun-Times writes “many say is the first ruling of its kind,” Rebecca Firlit’s visitation rights were revoked by a judge due to vaccination status.
In a zoom call hearing on August 10, the 39-year-old mother was asked by the Cook County Judge James Shapiro if she had received the coronavirus vaccine. “One of the first things he asked me when I got on the Zoom call was whether or not I was vaccinated, which threw me off because I asked him what it had to do with the hearing” Firlit told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I was confused because it was just supposed to be about expenses and child support. I asked him what it had to do with the hearing, and he said, ‘I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case.”
Firlit told the Sun-Times she was not vaccinated because of medical advice. “I’ve had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past and was advised not to get vaccinated by my doctor. It poses a risk” she said.
Firlit’s attorney said her client and ex-husband have been divorced for seven years and sharing custody. The issue of vaccination has not been raised by her ex-husband. Now, Firlit is only able to speak to her son on the phone.
“I talk to him every day. He cries, he misses me. I send him care packages” said Firlit, whose attorney is hoping to get an appellate court judge involved to reverse the ruling. Attorney for the boy’s father said his client is vaccinated and will fight his ex-wife’s appeal.