US judge revokes mother’s custody of son after she refused to take Covid vaccine

WION Web Team
Illinois, US Published: Sep 01, 2021, 04:20 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Firlit’s lawyer Annette Fernholz said she and her ex-husband have been divorced for seven years and that her former husband did not seek a ruling on the vaccination issue

In what is being described as an unprecedented ruling, a county judge in US’ Illinois state has prohibited a mother from visiting her 11-year-old son, who lives with her estranged husband, because she refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Cook County judge James Shapiro said Rebecca Firlit, 39, could not see the boy again until she had taken the jab.

“I’ve had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past and was advised not to get vaccinated by my doctor. It poses a risk,” Firlit told ta local media about the virtual court hearing, which took place earlier this month.

“I was confused because it was just supposed to be about expenses and child support. 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.”

“He said: I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case.”

Firlit’s lawyer Annette Fernholz said she and her ex-husband have been divorced for seven years and that her former husband did not seek a ruling on the vaccination issue.

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“The trial court clearly exceeded its authority in suspending the mother’s parenting time when the issue before the court was child support,” Fernholz said in a statement.

“The mother did not know her parenting time was being discussed when she went to Zoom court. The judge deprived her of notice and a full hearing on the issue,” he added

The father’s attorney, Jeffery M Leving, said he supported the judge’s decision. “There are children who have died because of COVID,” he told The Washington Post

Meanwhile, Filirt’s lawyer said they have filed a legal challenge to the state appellate court.

(With inputs from agencies)

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