A pro-life student is suing Western Michigan University this month for mandating that all student athletes get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The case, brought by four female soccer players, accuses the Kalamazoo university of violating their First Amendment rights by refusing to respect their Christian beliefs about the vaccine, the AP reports.
One student said she is Catholic and pro-life, and she should not be forced to take an “abortion-tainted” vaccine, according to the report.
Western Michigan University recently issued a mandate requiring all student athletes, coaches and others involved in sports on campus to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Those who refuse may not participate in athletics.
Christian students Emily Dahl, Hannah Redoute, Bailey Korhorn and Morgan Otteson said the university refused to give them a religious exemption, the AP reports. All four students have athletic scholarships, and two are team captains.
“The students were provided the opportunity to request religious accommodations on August 24, 2021, and they immediately filed their requests. WMU denied all requests,” according to the Great Lakes Justice Center, which is representing the students.
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The students’ lawyers said they all agreed to wear masks and undergo regular testing, but the university still refused. The lawyers noted that the university has not imposed a vaccine requirement on any other students.
“WMU should acknowledge and support our clients’ sincere religious beliefs and personal medical decisions,” said David A. Kallman, senior counsel with the Great Lakes Justice Center, in a statement. “The science and data does not support this action or treating the unvaccinated as second class citizens.”
In a statement, the university said it issued the mandate to prevent the “significant risk” of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.
“Prohibiting unvaccinated members of the teams from engaging in practices and competition is the only effective manner of accomplishing this compelling interest,” it said.
Vaccine mandates are being challenged in court across the country, some by pro-life individuals who cannot in good conscience take a vaccine that has been developed and/or tested with cell lines created from aborted babies.
Opinions about the ethics of the new COVID-19 vaccines vary even among many Christians and pro-life advocates.
The Vatican recently issued a statement declaring that it is morally acceptable for Catholics to take vaccines even if they use cell lines create from aborted babies because of the vaccines’ life-saving impact. But other Catholic and pro-life leaders have argued that any connection between the vaccines and the killing of unborn babies in abortions is immoral.
None of the vaccines contain cells from aborted babies, but they all have links to abortion, some more-so than others.
The companies Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca used cell lines created from babies who were aborted decades ago in the development and testing of their vaccines. These cell lines are clones of the aborted babies’ cells.
The connections between abortion and the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are much more limited, with cell lines created from aborted babies used only in testing the products.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute has a list of the vaccines with information about whether cell lines created from aborted babies were used in testing and/or production. Find it here.