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In an unprecedented move that’s drawing widespread concern, a Democrat judge reportedly stripped a Chicago mother of her parental rights earlier this month for refusing to obtain the coronavirus vaccine because of medical concerns.
The stunning ruling against Rebecca Firlit was made by Cook County Judge James Shapiro, a Democrat, during a virtual child support hearing with her ex-husband on Aug. 10th, according to local station WFLD.
The judge reportedly issued the ruling without any prodding from Firlit’s ex-husband, meaning it hadn’t been part of some nefarious plot by him to smear his ex-wife.
“You have to understand the father did not even bring this issue before the court. So it’s the judge on his own and making this decision that you can’t see your child until you’re vaccinated,” her attorney, Annette Fernholz, explained to WFLD.
According to Firlit, the judge broached her vaccination status out of the blue. When she replied that she hadn’t taken the coronavirus vaccine because of previous bad reactions to vaccines, he abruptly stripped her of all her parental rights and decreed that she must obtain the vaccine to get them back.
As a result, Firlit hasn’t seen her 11-year-old son in weeks.
“I miss my son more than anything. It’s been very difficult. I haven’t seen him since August 10th,” the grieving mother 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’s reportedly now appealing the order, and Fernholz seems confident she’ll ultimately win.
“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,” she said.
Firlit’s ex-husband and his attorney, Jeffrey Leving, were reportedly shocked by the ruling but predictably agree 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 the station.
Also not surprisingly, Twitter appears to be littered with left-wing zealots who either also support the judge’s decision and have no empathy whatsoever for Firlit, or who suspect without evidence that there’s “more to this story.”
In all fairness the child ALWAYS comes before any mother or father. Her medical reasons to not vax does NOTHING to protect the child! And the family courts only job is to protect kids! Why is this so hard to conceive. 🙄
— EMA (@EvieMarie1435) August 28, 2021
Although very unusual for a judge to do this, in all reality, he IS protecting the child. If the mother wants her child back, it’s easy. Get the damn shot.
— Anne 👩👧👩🏫👩🎓 (@PomMom2018) August 28, 2021
I guarantee there is more to this story than the mother’s vaccination status. Talk about fear mongering. Fox “news” doing their best to stoke their base and MTG going along with it as usual.
— Ann (@Ann71281302) August 28, 2021
Yet the headline from WFLD couldn’t be any clearer: “Cook County judge strips mother of parental rights over vaccination status.”
And there’s a reason why even high-powered congressional Republicans like Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie are speaking out against Shapiro’s ruling.
“This is child abuse in my opinion. The mother’s vaccination status wasn’t even before the judge, yet he used it to deny her the right to see her child. Even the CDC director has now acknowledged the vaccines do not prevent spread of SARS-CoV2,” the congressman tweeted Saturday morning.
This is child abuse in my opinion. The mother’s vaccination status wasn’t even before the judge, yet he used it to deny her the right to see her child. Even the CDC director has now acknowledged the vaccines do not prevent spread of SARS-CoV2https://t.co/nSlC82CR7H
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) August 28, 2021
This sentiment is shared by many, many, many Americans who’ve also taken to Twitter to slam both the judge and Firlit’s seemingly opportunistic ex-husband.
Here in Chicago, a mother loses her parental rights because she is unvaccinated. She has a history of bad reactions to vaccines. Judge shows no mercy. We’ve reached a new low as a society. @mtgreenee @EricTrump @DonaldJTrumpJr https://t.co/RfJFpPBgIf
— Mark Vargas (@MarkAVargas) August 28, 2021
That judge needs to go on trial for kidnapping, false imprisonment, and violating her civil rights.
— Houston Haynes (@HtownHorn) August 28, 2021
So ignorant but at the same so typically liberal self-righteous, the father should be ashamed of himself for allowing his attorney to express those views.
— Kim Greene (@simply_greene) August 28, 2021
If this isn’t an abuse of power I don’t know what is.
— Holly Thornton (@beachmamax2) August 28, 2021
One Twitter user even directed folks to a form they may use to file a complaint with the Illinois Judiciary Inquiry Board:
It’d be a shame if we all filled out this form and mailed it in, to turn the judge in for misconduct:https://t.co/WIxhScSo4F
— Irby White (@living_free333) August 28, 2021
All this comes as concerns are mounting that the flickers of COVID-related authoritarianism being seen across the country are just the beginning.
The question now becomes, where does all this lead?
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