None of the Covid-19 vaccines in the United States contain cells from aborted fetuses. Cells obtained from elective abortions decades ago were used in research during the development of the Covid vaccine, a practice common in vaccine research.
A group of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers took the case to the US District Court for the Northern District of New York to challenge the state’s vaccination mandate on religious grounds. The district court issued an injunction, but the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it, and the Supreme Court ultimately declined to hear the challenge Thursday.
The court instead upheld the lower court’s ruling, which dismissed the petitioners’ claim that the New York Mandate violated First Amendment rights against religious discrimination. All 16 health care workers were either fired, resigned, lost hospital admissions privileges, or chose to receive the vaccine.
Democrats drew attention to Thomas’ comments after a new conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court made several landmark decisions this term, including overturning Roe v. calf. However, some defenders of Thomas argued that he was merely reciting the allegations made by those who refused to receive the vaccine on religious grounds.
Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined Thomas in his dissenting opinion.
Thomas argues in the opinion that the court should have granted a motion to question whether a mandate like New York’s can ever be neutral or generally applicable if it doesn’t exclude religious behavior but allows for secular behavior — such as medical exceptions.
The state is allowing a narrow medical exemption for those who are highly allergic to the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Because I would now raise this topic normally before the next crisis forces us to decide complex legal issues in an emergency, I respectfully disagree,” writes Thomas.