Healthcare workers can’t abstain from vaccination for religious reasons

U.S. Supreme Court: no exception vaccination on religious grounds

Healthcare workers in the U.S. State of Maine cannot invoke religious freedom to circumvent the vaccination mandate. That’s what the Supreme Court decided.

In a remarkable ruling, the predominantly conservative US Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, states that vaccination is justified in order to protect the health and safety of everyone in the coronavirus crisis. The vaccination requirement in the United States has been under attack for some time now. Citizens across the country are suing, often on religious grounds. In Maine, on the east coast of the United States, nine health care workers tried to escape the vaccination obligation, which came into effect on Friday. On the day of the deadline, the Supreme Court rejected their request.

The prosecutors in Maine argued that the lack of a religious exemption was a violation of freedom of religion. But according to the Supreme Court, the state had good (health)reasons to keep the vaccination obligation intact. Moreover, since 2019, it has not been possible for any religious group in Maine to refuse a mandatory vaccine. Last year, opponents tried to reverse this measure through a referendum, but the majority, almost 75% of the voters, turned out to be in favor of the vaccination requirement.

The verdict means bad news for another major case against the vaccination requirement. Ten states with a Republican governor are trying to force through the courts that employees of companies working for the federal government cannot be required to have a Coronavirus vaccine.

President Joe Biden had imposed the duty by decree earlier this year. Initially only for people working in education and care, but from 8 December also for employees who provide services or products to the government. The ten states believe that this is contrary to the Constitution and the Federal Procurement Act. The White House says the obligation is “legal” and desperately needed to “save lives.”

“Abuse of power,” Kim Reynolds, Governor of the state of Iowa, called the obligation. The government would have pushed itself behind the front doors of Americans with this measure. It also considers the obligation to be harmful to the economy. For some employees, it would be grounds for dismissal. ‘It will only exacerbate the shortage of staff and supply chain problems that are hampering our economic recovery.’

According to legal experts, the Maine ruling suggests that the ten states are also not very strong in their case against the vaccination obligation. On Friday, a federal court of Appeal in New York ruled that the state could continue to vaccinate people in healthcare, even if they have religious objections. A lower court had previously held that the state should grant such exemptions.

At the moment, 58 percent of all Americans are fully vaccinated – much less than Biden had hoped. According to him, only compulsory vaccination can contain the coronavirus. Americans move slowly with him. According to the latest surveys by the Gallup Research Agency, 56 percent were in favor of the vaccination requirement, compared to 46 percent in May.

The Supreme Court ruling has a lot to do with it. Three out of nine judges disagreed. ‘Health workers who have been at the frontline of a pandemic in the last 18 months are now being fired. Their practices are being closed’, wrote conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch. ‘Their difficult situation deserves our attention’ ” he said. ‘I would grant exemption.’

Notable is the position of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is known for his commitment to the rights of religious. She was also opposed to religious exemption. Partly because she said she had trouble with the speed with which this emergency appeal had to be handled. In August, she had also rejected a request for exemption from students at Indiana University. Recently, there has been increasing criticism of the many cases that the Supreme Court handles without an oral hearing.

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