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Supreme Court lets stand vaccine requirement for health care workers

Supreme Court

The Freedom From Religion Foundation praises the U.S. Supreme Court for denying a request from religious anti-vaxxers to block a Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

Without opinion, a 6-3 majority of the justices voted to deny the emergency injunction request challenging New York’s requirement that certain health care workers receive a Covid-19 vaccine. Only Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito would have granted the injunction against New York health officials and the governor.

“Even this ultraconservative Supreme Court has allowed science and reason to prevail,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Thankfully, the secular fight against the pandemic was not weakened today.”

In two cases against New York officials, doctors and nurses claim that their religion does not allow them to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. They believe “abortion in any form” is wrong and they oppose vaccination because the vaccines allegedly use abortion-derived fetal cell lines in production or testing.

Gorsuch wrote a baffling dissent, joined by Alito. Based on comments from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Gorsuch argued that New York acted out of “animosity” toward unorthodox religious beliefs and practices. Hochul had commented at a press conference in September that the state intentionally omitted a religious exemption from its health care vaccination requirements.

Gorsuch also found fault with the language of the requirements, saying that they were apparently “specifically directed at the applicants’ unorthodox religious beliefs and practices.”

“This is like saying stop signs are specifically directed at religious drivers,” responds FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott. “To nitpick every remark of the governor in an attempt to claim that a general rule is targeting religion is to engage in an absurd exercise.”

Despite the court’s denial of an injunction request today, other vaccine employment cases remain pending before courts throughout the country.

Photo by Rena Child via Shutterstock

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