Two federal judges on Sept. 14 ruled in favor of a group of New York City Department of Education employees and healthcare workers at a hospital in the state who sued authorities over mandatory vaccination and temporarily blocked the order, the New York Post reported.
A group of 17 Catholic employees of an upstate New York hospital filed a lawsuit Tuesday, Sept. 13, in federal court in Syracuse, alleging that the emergency vaccination order issued by the state Health Department on Aug. 21 violates the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.
In the lawsuit, according to Bloomberg, the attorney said his clients “oppose abortion under any circumstances, as they believe that abortion is the intrinsically evil killing of an innocent, and thus they also oppose the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines for medical purposes and abortion-derived fetal stem cell research.”
Federal Judge David Hurd ruled that the Department of Health cannot impose the vaccines on all those employees who request the religious exemption until Sept. 22, when a hearing will be held, and Health Commissioner Howard Zucker must present his arguments to refute the lawsuit.
“The vaccine mandate is suspended in operation to the extent that the [Department of Health] is barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccinations or that they revoke any exemptions already granted before the vaccine mandate was issued,” Hurd wrote.
New York state mandated that all federal employees get the vaccine by Sept. 27 or lose their jobs.
The New York governor’s press secretary, Hazel Crampton-Hays, said the mandatory vaccination is part of the battle against the delta strain of the coronavirus that is causing a spike in cases and deaths across the country.
The same day the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled in favor of a group of New York City teachers’ unions that had sued Mayor de Blasio over mandatory vaccination. However, the case brought by the teachers appears to be weaker in its arguments.
Judge Laurence Love temporarily blocked vaccination of all city teacher employees until Sept. 22, when the plaintiffs will have a hearing to argue why vaccination should not be mandatory for them.
Henry Garrido, one of the plaintiff unionists, clarified that teachers are not against the vaccine.
“While we do believe our members should get the vaccine, we do not believe it should be a condition of employment,” Garrido said in a statement. “Clearly, the courts agree. The fight is not over, but we are energized by this decision and ready to keep going on behalf of our members.”
The city government dismissed the ruling, saying the judge’s temporary block until Sept. 22 does not affect the deadline of when the vaccination order expires, Sept. 27.
A city spokesperson said, “New York City’s education worker vaccine mandate, which has been embraced by the White House, goes into effect on Sept. 27. The court’s action today expires on Sept. 22.”
Mandatory vaccination has generated much controversy.
Those in favor argue that it is for safety and to prevent contagion of the virus. However, several studies in Israel have already shown that the vaccine’s protection fades, and many fully vaccinated people have become infected. For this reason, Pfizer and Moderna have already requested approval for a third dose.
Opponents argue that vaccination is a personal decision between the individual and their doctor and that the government should not interfere in a personal medical decision, the same argument used to legalize abortion in 1973 under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.