A federal judge on Tuesday granted a preliminary injunction against New York’s COVID-19 vaccine warrant for healthcare workers after a group of 17 Christian healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, protested in a lawsuit that the mandate violated their religious freedom by not allowing employers to consider religious exemptions.
U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd has issued a new order preventing the New York Department of Health from rejecting employer-approved religious exemptions to the immunization mandate promulgated on August 26. It comes as a similar order issued in September was set to expire.
“The question posed by this case is not whether complainants and others are entitled to a religious exemption from the state’s workplace vaccination requirement,” said Hurd. written in his decision. “Instead, the question is whether the summary state imposition of Â§ 2.61 conflicts with the federally protected right of complainants and other individuals to seek religious accommodation from their employers. individual. ”
“The answer to that question is clearly yes,” continued the person named by Bill Clinton. “The plaintiffs have established that Â§ 2.61 conflicts with long-standing federal protections for religious beliefs and that they and others will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction.”
The vaccine mandate dictated that more than 600,000 workers in public and private hospitals and nursing homes statewide receive their first dose of a vaccine by midnight on September 26 to continue working the next day.
September 14, Hurd gave an order to temporarily prevent the New York Department of Health from rejecting employer-approved religious exemptions. The order was extended from September 20 to October 12, when Hurd made his decision.
In their lawsuit, Christian medical workers, represented by religious freedom group Thomas More Society, argued that the state allows a medical exemption and should also consider requests for religious exemption.
“With this ruling, the court rightly recognized that yesterday’s ‘frontline heroes’ in the face of COVID cannot suddenly be treated as disease-carrying villains and thrown to the curb by the command of a state health bureaucracy, “Thomas More Society Special Advisor Christopher Ferrara, lead counsel in the case, said in a declaration.
“Some of these complainants contracted COVID while treating patients, recovered and were allowed to return to work with the same protective measures that were good enough during the 18 months they were the heroes in the battle against the virus. . There is no ‘science’ to show that these same measures are suddenly inadequate – especially when allowed for people on medical exemption. “
The preliminary injunction bars New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul and any agency or person under her authority from âenforcing, threatening to enforce, attempting to enforce or demand complianceâ with the COVID vaccine mandate.
The State is also prohibited from taking “any measure, disciplinary or otherwise, against the authorization to practice, certification, residence, admission privileges or any other professional status or qualification” of health professionals. who request or obtain a religious exemption from compulsory vaccination against COVID-19.
âThese complainants are not anti-vaccines,â said Stephen Crampton, senior counsel for the Thomas More Society.
The plaintiffs, who oppose abortion in all circumstances, oppose taking the vaccines because “they all use fetal cell lines derived from an abortion obtained in testing, development or production.”
The move comes after Hochul told a Brooklyn mega-church last month that COVID-19 vaccines are God’s answer to “our prayers.” She swore to appeal the injunction.
“My responsibility as governor is to protect the people of this state, and demanding that health care workers get vaccinated accomplishes that,” the governor said in a statement responding to the injunction. “I support this mandate and I will fight this decision in court to keep New Yorkers safe.”