The state issued an order August 28 that requires every licensed health care worker to get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by a Sept. 27 deadline to continue working at hospitals and nursing homes.
Thomas More Society is representing the plaintiffs.
After a judge’s ruling, however, the state now has a deadline: It must respond to the federal lawsuit, filed by 17 doctors and nurses, by Sept. 22.
U.S. District Judge David Hurd temporarily blocked the mandate after the medical professionals sued, which buys time for the plaintiffs after he issued a restraining order.
An oral hearing is set for Sept. 28 if the state opposes the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary court order blocking the mandate, The Associated Press reported in a Sept. 15 story.
The plaintiffs are alleging violations of their constitutional rights because the Dept. of Health mandate does not provide a religious exemption.
Michael McHale, a Thomas More attorney, tells American Family News the plaintiffs primarily object to the vaccine because it is connected to cell lines developed from aborted children.
“Either in testing, development, or production," he says.
The lawsuit states that the plaintiffs are not so-called “anti-vaxxers,” the nickname for people who oppose any and all vaccines.
Most of the Thomas More clients are from the Catholic faith, which is known for its strong pro-life stance, and some of the medical professionals describe themselves as Evangelicals. All of them, the attorney says, have a “widely shared objection” to any connection to abortion.
Regarding a religious exemption, which is common in medical situations, McHale says Thomas More will tell the court that granting a religious accommodation would not pose an undue hardship on hospitals and nursing homes.
“Because a lot of our clients had already been granted religious exemptions by their employers,” he says, “until New York came along and declared that no longer can health care employers allow religious accommodations."