Rebecca Firlit's attorney Fernholz said that the judge had overstepped his authority by revoking custody of her son.
Rebecca Firlit, a 39-year-old Mom, has been denied custody of her 11-year-old son for not being vaccinated. The judge ruled that she posed a risk to the child and revoked her custody until she gets vaccinated. The child's father, Matthew Duiven, has been vaccinated but she hadn't, citing her adverse reactions to vaccines in the past. Rebecca Firlit and her ex-husband have had shared custody of their son since June 2014. The judge in Cook County court revoked her custody citing safety issues. The matter hadn't been brought up by either party and Firlit's attorney is alleging the act was an overreach from the judge, reported The Washington Post. Firlit and her ex-husband have been divorced for seven years now.
“One of the first things he asked me … was whether or not I was vaccinated,” said Firlit, reported Chicago Sun-Times. She told the judge that she wasn't, and explained that she had suffered “adverse reactions to vaccines in the past.” As a result, she had been advised by a doctor to not get the Coronavirus vaccine. “It poses a risk,” she added. With the boy's father being vaccinated, Cook County Judge James Shapiro said Firlit could not see her 11-year-old son until she got the vaccine.
Firlit's attorney Annette Fernholz has since filed a petition to appeal the judge’s decision, stating that his ruling was an overreach. “The father did not even bring this issue before the court,” said Fernholz. “So it’s the judge on his own and making this decision that you can’t see your child until you’re vaccinated.” The ruling appears to be the first of its kind. The judge's ruling made it all the more bizarre considering the August 10 hearing wasn't about revising the custody agreement, said Firlit’s lawyer. Firlit herself was taken by surprise at the judge's question on her vaccination status. “I was confused because it was just supposed to be about expenses and child support,” she said. “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.’” The judge revoked her custody after learning she wasn't vaccinated.
Firlit's attorney confirmed she would be appealing the ruling but didn't say if she was planning on getting vaccinated. Firlit's attorney Fernholz said that the judge had overstepped his authority, before adding that taking away a song from his mother is wrong. “I think that it’s dividing families,” said Firlit. “And I think it’s not in my son’s best interest to be away from his mother.” The father’s attorney, Jeffery M. Leving said he didn't the expect vaccination status to become an issue in court but added that he agreed with the judge. “There are children who have died because of Coronavirus,” Leving said. “I think every child should be safe. And I agree that the mother should be vaccinated.” Firlit said she has been having a hard time after being separated from her son, adding that it was equally hard for her. “I talk to him every day. He cries, he misses me,” she said.
Children are said to be more susceptible to Delta variant, with those contracting the variant increased exponentially, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Academy of Family Physicians has also warned that unvaccinated children could sustain “severe and long-lasting impacts” on their health. This week, an unvaccinated California teacher ended up infecting half her class of 24 students, with a majority of them being in the first two rows closest to her desk, reported The Washington Post.
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