ALBANY (AP) — New York’s health care workers will have the right to request religious exemptions from a statewide CoVID -19 mandated vaccine mandate. A federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Judge David Hurd in Utica issued a temporary restraint order a month after 17 nurses, doctors and other health professionals claimed that they would be subject to a mandate for vaccines that prohibited religious exemptions.
Hurd’s preliminary injunction Tuesday will mean that New York will not be able to impose any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions. The state can’t revoke exemptions that have been granted.
“My job as governor is to protect this state’s people, and requiring that health care workers get vaccinated accomplishes my responsibility,” she stated in a prepared statement.
State health officials told media outlets last week that about 7,000 hospital workers out of about 500,000 had sought nonmedical exemptions, along with almost 3,000 nursing homes workers out of about 140,000.
Hurd stated that health care workers who sued the state for their constitutional rights were likely to prevail. Hurd wrote that the question in this case is whether the mandate “conflicts” with plaintiffs’ federally protected rights to request a religious accommodation from their employers. This question has a clear answer .”
” This is clearly a ridiculous government overreach,” Christopher Ferrara, the Thomas More Society special attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said. You can’t do such things to people. They can’t be called heroes and then put them on the street .
Hochul began to require workers in hospitals and nursing homes that they be vaccinated by Sept. 27. Recently, the requirement was expanded to include those working in assisted living homes, hospice care centers, and home health aids.
According to court papers, the plaintiffs are all Christians and oppose any medical cooperation in abortion. This includes vaccines that are linked to fetal cells lines during testing, development, or production.
There are many cell lines that were created using fetal tissue decades ago and are used in medical manufacturing. However, the cells found in these cells today are clones from the original cells.
The COVID -19 vaccination from Johnson & Johnson uses an adenovirus grown with retinal cells that can trace back to a fetus in 1985,, according to the Vaccine Education Center of the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated in a January statement, that “abortion-derived cell lines” were used in testing the Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations, but not for their production or development.
Hurd allowed the plaintiffs to hide their identities by using pseudonyms like “Dr. A. and Nurse J.” The plaintiffs stated that they were hesitant to go anonymously for fear of being ostracized or threatened with retaliation.
Also Tuesday a Manhattan federal judge dismissed a challenge to an identical New York City mandate that required employees of the nation’s largest public schools to receive vaccines.
Lawyers were seeking an injunction to block the mandate in their cases. Officials found that they didn’t meet the city’s strict requirements for a religious exemption, and they argued their constitutional rights had been violated.
U.S. District Court Valerie Caproni denied the request, stating that there was no evidence to support discrimination.
Caproni stated that the mandate was “neutral” during Tuesday’s hearing. It says that you must get vaccinated. It applies to everyone .”
Associated Press writer Tom Hays from New York contributed to this article.
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