Federal Judge David Hurd in the Northern District of New York suspended the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers because of their religious beliefs. Seventeen health professionals, including doctors and nurses, filed a lawsuit on Monday, arguing for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccines. A law passed in 2019 disallows religious exemptions from vaccines.
Judge Hurd gave New York state until Sept. 22 to respond to the lawsuit in federal court in Utica. According to NYNow, "The vaccine mandate is suspended in operation to the extent that the DOH is barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination,” stated Hurd in his order.
Christopher Ferrara of the Thomas More Society, who represents the health professionals, stated in a Tuesday press release:
"What New York is attempting to do is slam shut an escape hatch from an unconstitutional vaccine mandate," declared attorney Christopher Ferrara, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “And they are doing this while knowing that many people have sincere religious objections to vaccines that were tested, developed, or produced with cell lines derived from aborted children.”
“Never in the history of New York state, never in the history of the world, has a government sought to forcibly impose mass vaccination on an entire class of people under threat of immediate personal and professional destruction,” declared Ferrara. “This is just another example of how Covid regimes are completely out of control. The federal judiciary has a duty under the Constitution to put a straight jacket on this institutional insanity.”
The lawsuit outlines the plaintiff's rationales for a religious exemption:
"The 'plaintiffs’ sincere religious conviction that they cannot consent to be inoculated, 'continuously' or otherwise, with vaccines that were tested, developed or produced with fetal cell lines derived from procured abortions, and the drastic consequences they now face absent emergency injunctive relief."
"The professionals—nine doctors, five nurses, a nuclear medicine technologist, a physician liaison and a rehabilitation therapist—are seeking a judgment declaring the mandate 'unconstitutional, unlawful, and unenforceable'."
The health workers say they do not want to be "reduced to a caste of untouchables." The lawsuit states:
"The Vaccine Mandate emerges in the context of an atmosphere of fear and
irrationality in which the unvaccinated are threatened with being reduced to a caste of untouchables if they will not consent to being injected, even 'continuously,' with vaccines that violate their religious beliefs, are clearly not as effective as promised, and have known and increasingly evident risks of severe and even life-threatening side effects, including blood clots and what the CDC admits is a ‘likely association’ between a rare heart inflammatory condition in adolescents and young adults [under age 30] mostly after they’ve received their second Covid-19 vaccine shot."
Several Exhibits substantiate their arguments against the mandates. Exhibit D below contains many exhibits proving religious objections:
Exhibit D: Dr. A et al v Hochul et al
Exhibit D: Dr. A et al v Hochul et al
Exhibit E: Dr. A et al v Hochul et al
Exhibit F contains a transcript from a CNN interview with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wallensky that aired on Aug. 5, 2021, during which she admitted the vaccine "does not prevent transmission of the virus."
The lawsuit also lists recent examples of threats and harassment by political and entertainment figures toward those who refuse the vaccine or are vaccine-hesitant.
Dr. A et al v Hochul et al
The lawsuit continues, explaining that such mandates have "never been seen in our nation":
"For the sake of forcing people to be inoculated with novel vaccines regardless of risk or benefit, college admissions are being revoked, career paths blocked, employment terminated, and lives ruined on a vast scale. Nothing like this has ever been seen in our nation. And yet, the CDC now admits that the COVID vaccines do not prevent viral transmission or infection, especially by the “Delta variant."
The complaint states that the mandate overrides protections provided under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, New York State's Human Rights Law, the Supremacy Clause as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution.
Former Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who resigned at the end of August because of claims of alleged sexual harassment, pronounced a deadline of Sept. 27 for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for all healthcare workers. Governor Cuomo's order set forth "New York Department of Health Section 16 Orders to Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities Requiring Policy to Ensure All Employees Are Vaccinated." He also "strongly urged private businesses to implement vaccinated-only admission policies, and school districts to mandate vaccinations for teachers."
Cuomo signed in 2019 a law putting an end to religious exemptions for vaccine mandates. He said at the time that a large measles outbreak was the cause of a "public health crisis" and was obligated to act.