A federal judge ruled against the vaccine mandate at a Louisiana medical school on the grounds that it violates religious liberty rights under the Louisiana Constitution. The judge also issued a temporary restraining order against the school.
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) attempted to mandate their students get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty struck it down after students Lynn Magliulo, Matthew Shea Willis, and Kirsten Willis Hall revealed the school’s policy and noted how it infringed on their freedom of religion.
On June 30, 2021, VCOM sent out an email to students notifying them that the school was requiring all students to receive a full coronavirus vaccination to enroll in fall 2021 classes. The email also said religious and medical exemptions, which the college limited, would be heard on an individual basis. However, VCOM later contradicted itself by saying it would not recognize religious or medical exemptions, according to court documents.
The three students dissented and requested exemptions based on “deeply held religious beliefs.” According to the temporary restraining order, the students objected to the vaccine because they believed them to be “devised from aborted fetal tissues, violating their religious beliefs.” They also dissented because the vaccine is approved for emergency use only “and is therefore experimental.”
However, all of their exemptions were denied. That is when the students decided to take action.
A federal judge in Louisiana has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine from mandating #COVID19 vaccination as a condition of student enrollment.https://t.co/rHswao3UWw
— Real America's Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) August 19, 2021
After it became clear the students were pursuing legal action against the school, VCOM changed its exemption policy three times, approved the students’ religious exemptions “for the current time,” and ultimately created what Judge Doughty found to be burdensome restrictions that would interfere with the students’ ability to graduate.
One of the school’s excessive restrictions included barring unvaccinated students from participating in Standardized Patient Examinations and Early Clinical Experiences “which are required to advance or graduate,” according to court documents.
Judge Doughty said the “threat to religious freedom was imminent” when referring to the students’ case, and he said the “potential harm of a constitutional violation, ability to complete their education, ethics charges, and possible expulsion outweighs VCOM’s interest.”
He further noted that restrictions on students’ ability to dissent from the mandate which keeps them from being able to graduate “defeats the purpose of having the right of dissent.”
Louisiana law does not provide a method for institutions to restrict dissent. VCOM would be authorized to exclude unvaccinated students until the end of the disease incubation period or until they present evidence of vaccination. However, that mechanism requires a recommendation from the Louisiana Office of Public Health, which the school does not have.
“Therefore, under Louisiana law, students at VCOM are not subject to VCOM’s mandatory vaccine requirements if the student provides a written statement from a physician that the procedure is contraindicated for medical reason or presents a written dissent from a student or student’s guardian,” Doughty ruled.
More on the story at Breitbart News
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