Colorado Medical School Facing Lawsuit For Denying Student, Faculty Member’s Religious Exemption To COVID Vaccine Mandate


Two plaintiffs have filed a legal case against the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine to oppose the school's COVID vaccine mandate, which they claim has violated their religious rights.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Denver, claiming that the Colorado medical school was demonstrating "overt religious discrimination" against the plaintiffs, thereby causing a "direct threat" and "undue hardship" towards them.

According to the Denver Post, the case was filed by Thomas More Society (TMS) attorneys on behalf of the plaintiffs, a Catholic doctor and a Buddhist student who remained anonymous and are instead identified as Jane Doe, M.D. and John Doe.

The lawsuit said that the female Catholic pediatrician who works at the Children's Hospital of Colorado Springs and is employed by the Colorado medical school, faces "imminent firing over her unwillingness to take a Covid vaccine shot."

The lawsuit sought "an immediate temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction" to prevent the doctor from being fired from her job. Meanwhile, the student, a male devout Buddhist, was "forced out of his first-year program at the school for his religious objection to the COVID vaccine," the lawsuit read.

The complaint also demonstrated how the female doctor and plaintiff, who holds a master's degree in Catholic bioethics, believes that receiving the COVID vaccine would "violate her deeply held religious beliefs that abortion is a grave sin" because the shot uses "fetal cell strains derived from aborted fetal tissue" in its development or testing. Meanwhile, the Buddhist student "avoids products developed through the killing or harming of animals (including human beings) as he seeks to live a life consistent with the 'five precepts' of Buddhism."

As a result of the Colorado medical school's COVID vaccine mandate, the doctor is now facing possible termination while the Buddhist student has already been advised to take a "leave of absence" from school, the Christian Post reported. Additionally, the lawsuit said that the plaintiffs are aware that "hospitals and medical schools across the country, and within the University of Colorado's own health care system, have offered religious accommodations to similarly situated individuals who work directly with and around COVID vulnerable patients."

TMS Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen spoke out on how the Colorado medical school had enacted a divisive policy that categorizes their students and faculty into groups based on their religious beliefs.

Breen described those whose "religions teach the approved orthodoxy receive exemptions to the university's Covid vaccine mandate" as "sheeps" while those who "hold non-approved religious beliefs are refused exemptions, and then fired or expelled" as "goats." He added that such a rendering of value judgement is a violation of the First Amendment.

The University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine said on its website that all students, faculty, and other personnel must comply with the COVID vaccine requirement unless they have successfully applied for a medical or religious exemption. Those who remain unvaccinated will be required to "follow alternative procedures on campus, which include completing the daily health questionnaire, wearing masks and distancing and complying with mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing."