Chicago Mom Loses Custody of Son Because She's Unvaccinated — But Then Judge Withdraws Decision

"I think that it's wrong," Rebecca Firlit, who had not been able to see her 11-year-old son in person since Aug. 10, previously said of the decision

A Chicago mother who hoped to regain shared custody of her 11-year-old son following a judge's recent ruling has been successful.

During an Aug. 10 child support hearing with her ex-husband, "one of the first things" the judge asked Rebecca Firlit about was her vaccination status, the mother told told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Firlit, who was surprised by the question, told the outlet that she's "had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past and was advised not to get vaccinated by my doctor." Her ex-husband, from whom she has been divorced for seven years, has been vaccinated.

Afterwards, she recalled asking the judge how the question related to the hearing, which was supposed to be "about expenses and child support" and said she was told, "I am the judge, and I make the decisions for your case."

The judge then ruled that until Firlit got vaccinated, she would not be allowed to see her son — a decision that appeared to be the first time a parent has been denied custody for not being vaccinated, according to The Washington Post.

A court spokesperson says they cannot comment on pending or impending cases, but according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, the judge on Monday vacated his original order "based on the absence of a pleading or hearing on serious endangerment."

"I miss my son more than anything. It's been very difficult," the Chicago mother, who had appealed the initial decision, previously said in an interview with FOX 32 News.

"It had nothing to do with what we were talking about," she added of the ruling. "[The judge] was placing his views on me. And taking my son away from me."

Her attorney also argued that the judge's decision exceeded"his jurisdiction," per the Fox station.

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An attorney representing the Chicago woman's ex-husband said that while they did not expect the question to be asked, they supported the initial ruling.

"There are children who have died because of COVID," Jeffery M. Leving told Fox 32 News. "I think every child should be safe. And I agree that the mother should be vaccinated."

Although being apart from her son is difficult, Firlit hopes to be reunited with him soon.

"I feel like this will resonate with people because this is how things will go if we don't speak up. Dividing families, taking children from their parents, we have to speak out to make sure this is not the new thing," she told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Unfortunately, I had to be the first person that this happened to, but parents aren't going to stand for that."

The majority of deaths from COVID-19 — around 98 to 99% — are in unvaccinated people. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments.

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