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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Unvaccinated Mom In Pilsen Can See Her Son, Judge Says In Reversal

Earlier this month, Cook County Judge James Shapiro said Rebecca Firlit's custody of her 11-year-old son would be revoked until she was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Katlin Stupegia of MobileVax holds a vial of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine at a special COVID-19 vaccination event with live performances for arts & culture workers held at Theater Wit in Lakeview on May 21, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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PILSEN — A mother in Pilsen can see her 11-year-old son again after a Cook County judge reversed his order that had suspended her visitation because she isn’t vaccinated against coronavirus.

Attorney Annette Fernholz, who represents Rebecca Firlit, confirmed the reversal Monday morning.

Earlier this month, Judge James Shapiro revoked Rebecca Firlit’s custody. During a virtual meeting, Shapiro had asked Firlit whether she was vaccinated against COVID-19. She told him she had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past and was advised against getting the vaccine, the Sun-Times reported.

The original order would have stripped Firlit of custody until she was vaccinated. In the order’s aftermath, she was only allowed to speak with her son by phone. 

On Monday morning, Annette Fernholz, an attorney for Firlit, said they filed a “petition for leave to appeal, but she received an order from Judge Shapiro vacating portions of his previous order.”

Firlit shares custody with her husband.

“I talk to him every day. He cries. He misses me. I send him care packages,” Firlitt told the Sun-Times of conversations with her son.

Fernholz believes Shapiro overstepped his authority with his original ruling.

“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 FOX32.

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