Illinois mom says judge stripped custody of son until she gets COVID-19 vaccine: report

Rebecca Firlit told FOX 32 Chicago that Cook County Judge James Shapiro revoked all of her parenting time with her son until she gets vaccinated.

“I miss my son more than anything. It’s been very difficult. I haven’t seen him since August 10th,” Firlit told the outlet.


A spokesperson for Shaprio told FOX 32 that the judge could not comment on the ruling due to the ongoing nature of the case.

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 and her son (Credit: FOX 32 Chicago)

Rebecca Firlit and her son (Credit: FOX 32 Chicago) (FOX 32 Chicago)

“He was placing his views on me. And taking my son away from me,” Firlit said of Shapiro.

Her attorney, Annette Fernholz, believes the judge overstepped his bounds.

“In this case you have a judge, without any matter before him regarding the parenting time with the child deciding, ‘Oh, you’re not vaccinated. You don’t get to see your child until you are vaccinated.’ That kind of exceeds his jurisdiction,” Fernholz told FOX 32.


She added that “the father did not even bring this issue before the court.”

Jeffrey Leving, the attorney representing Firlit’s ex-husband in the custody case, told the outlet that while Shapiro’s order came as a surprise, they support the decision.

“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. 

While children have experienced lower COVID-19 infection rates and lower risk of severe virus symptoms than adults, nationwide hospitals are reporting increasing pediatric COVID-19 cases as the delta variant spreads compared to rates seen during previous surges. Health officials have urged those who are eligible to get vaccinated to protect others who cannot. 

Businesses across the country, as well as local governments and schools, have moved to require COVID-19 vaccinations among all employees who do not have a medical exemption or require mask-wearing at all times for individuals who do not get the vaccine in an effort to reduce infection rates. Leving told FOX 32 that he believes Shapiro’s ruling could play out in other custody cases.

Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.

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