None of the Covid-19 vaccines in the United States contain the cells of aborted fetuses. Cells obtained from elective abortions decades ago were used in research during the development of the Covid vaccine, a common practice in vaccine research.
A group of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have brought the case, filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York to oppose the vaccine mandate of the State for religious reasons. The district court issued a preliminary injunction, but the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it and the Supreme Court ultimately declined to hear the challenge on Thursday.
The court instead left in place the lower court’s decision dismissing the petitioners’ claim that the New York mandate violates the First Amendment right against religious discrimination. The 16 health care workers were fired, resigned, lost their hospital admission privileges or decided to get vaccinated.
Democrats drew attention to Thomas’ comments after a new conservative Supreme Court supermajority handed down several groundbreaking rulings this quarter, including overturning Roe vs. Wade. But some of Thomas’s defenders argued that he was simply reciting the claims of those who refused to get vaccinated on religious grounds.
Conservative justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined Thomas in his dissenting opinion.
Thomas argues that the court should have granted a motion to open to full deliberation whether a mandate like New York’s can ever be neutral or generally enforceable if it does not exempt religious conduct but permits secular conduct. – as medical exemptions.
The state allows a narrow medical exemption for people who are highly allergic to the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Because I would address this issue now in the normal course, before the next crisis again forces us to decide complex legal issues in an emergency posture, I respectfully disagree,” Thomas writes.