No Longer Fit to Be a Parent, Cook County Judge Tells Unvaccinated Chicago Mother

A Chicago mother is filing an appeal after a Cook County judge took away her parental rights because she declined to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

James Shapiro, a judge at Chicago's Daley Center, had decided earlier this month that Rebecca Firlit is no longer fit to be a parent because she has not been vaccinated. Shapiro, who is a Democrat per BizPacReview, made the unprecedented ruling against Firlit during a virtual child support hearing with her ex-husband on August 10. According to local station WFLD, the judge issued the ruling without any nudging from Firlit's ex-husband.

Firlit, who has reportedly been divorced for seven years and shares custody of her son with her ex-husband, said she does not want to get the vaccine due to previous adverse reactions to vaccines, according to FOX 32.

Rebecca Firlit
A Chicago mother says a Cook County judge decided to strip her parental rights over her refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Twitter

Firlit Hasn't Seen Her 11-year-old Son in Weeks

Since the ruling two weeks ago Firlit says she has not been in physical contact with her son.

"I miss my son more than anything. It's been very difficult. I haven't seen him since August 10th," she told WFLD. "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. It had nothing to do with what we were talking about. He was placing his views on me. And taking my son away from me," she added.

She is currently appealing the court order, saying the judge does not have the right to take away her parenting rights just because she's not vaccinated and that he is placing his beliefs on to her.

Father's Attorney Admitted They Were Surprised by the Decision but Supported the Ruling

Firlit's ex-husband, who wished to remain anonymous, and his attorney Jeffrey Leving, said they were stunned by the ruling but agreed with 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 told WFLD.

Although children can contract Covid-19 and pass the disease on to others, they tend to not get very ill. In fact, a recent study found natural immunity from previous COVID-19 infection may offer stronger protection against the 'Delta' variant than immunity from full vaccination, reported Daily Mail.

Social Media Reactions

Netizens have called this incident as outrageous and terrific. One internet user said, "No one should be forced or coerced to get a medical procedure. A higher court will not uphold this ruling. The judge is depriving her of a basic human right. I would file a complaint with the legal licensure board and appeal to a higher court."

Another wrote, "Shocked that a Cook County Judge would break the law by exceeding their authority. Symptom of much bigger problem in Cook County."

One comment read, "Might be a notice issue, but otherwise I think this judge is finally moving the law in a direction it should go."