A few weeks ago, we shared the story of a 21-year-old man from Ohio who, after being arrested for possession of fentanyl, was legally required by the judge overseeing his case to get a vaccination. As a condition under observation.
Now, in a terrifying glimpse of what might be in store for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, Judge in Cook County, Illinois (which includes Chicago and some surrounding areas) The woman was deprived of her parental rights because of her refusal to be vaccinated.
In what all sides agree it is an unusual and possibly unprecedented move, as a judge at the Daly Center in Chicago has done Rebecca Verlett stripped of custody because of her refusal to be vaccinated.
I miss my son more than anything else. It was very difficult. I haven’t seen him since August 10.” Verlett told the local Fox affiliate in an interview.
This is the day Verlett appeared in court via Zoom, accompanied by her ex-husband, at a child support hearing involving her 11-year-old son. The two have been separated for seven years and share custody and paternity time. Suddenly, Cook County Judge James Shapiro asked her if she had received the vaccination. Ferlette told Shapiro that she did not get the vaccine because she had had bad reactions to vaccines in the past.
Shapiro then ordered that Ferlett be prevented from spending paternity time with her son until she was vaccinated. For the past two weeks, Ferlette has been able to speak to her son on the phone and via video calls, but has not been able to see him in person.
“I think this is wrong. I think it divides families. I think it is not in my son’s best interest to stay away from his mother.”
Firlit is now appealing the court order, saying the judge does not have the authority to withdraw her parenting rights over her vaccination status.
“He had nothing to do with what we were talking about. He was putting his opinions on me. And he took my son away from me,” Verlett said.
Her attorney, Annette Fernholz, claimed that the judge had overstepped his authority.
“In that case you have a judge, without any matter before him as to the parenting time with the child’s decision “Oh, you’re not vaccinated. You can’t see your child until you’ve been vaccinated. This kind of goes beyond his competence,” Fernholz said.
As I explained, the judge acts completely alone: Ferlet’s ex-husband did not take the case to court.
“You have to understand that the father did not take this case to court. “So the judge is on his own and making that decision is that you can’t see your child until he’s vaccinated,” Fernholz added.
However, the attorney representing Ferlett’s ex-husband, Jeffrey Living, said they were also surprised by the judge’s decision, but supported the ruling that given the pandemic, the child should be protected from the unvaccinated mother.
“There are children who have died from COVID. I think every child should be safe. “I agree that the mother should be vaccinated,” Living said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, fewer than 400 children in the United States have died from COVID. In each case, the child had some type of comorbidity that greatly complicated the situation.
The judge did not respond to a request for comment. But it’s worth noting that judges wield broad power, and it likely won’t be the first time a US judge has brought up vaccination cases while cases are completely unrelated to them.