CV NEWS FEED // Four pro-life students are suing Jesuit-run Creighton University for refusing to give them religious exemptions to a campus mandate that all students be vaccinated against Covid-19 before attending in-person classes.
The Christian Post reported that attorney Robert Sullivan filed the lawsuit against the Catholic university, based in Omaha, in the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, on Wednesday on behalf of students Lauren Ramaekers, Patrice Quadrel, Sarah Stinsel, and an anonymous Jane Doe.
The university, which allows medical but not religious exemptions for the vaccine, implemented a requirement that all students receive the first vaccine shot by 4:30 am on Sept. 7 or else be automatically disenrolled.
“Each of the plaintiffs have religious objections to the Covid-19 vaccines based on the fact that the vaccines were developed and/or tested using abortion derived fetal cell lines and some have serious medical conditions which make the vaccine ‘not recommended,’” Sullivan wrote.
The lawsuit accuses Creighton University of violating a binding contract to provide services since the students “have been attending classes since the semester started, and Defendant has accepted tuition money and other fees the Plaintiffs have paid.”
As a redress for taking the students’ full tuition money while expelling them from campus, the lawsuit seeks the redress of asking a judge to order that Creighton “re-enroll and [reinstate] Plaintiffs to Creighton University, and enjoining Defendant from expelling, unenrolling, disciplining, retaliating against, or otherwise restricting all students’ access to classes, and any other service or privilege afforded to the students of Creighton University due to their vaccination status.”
Catholic World Report reported that one student, Ramaekers, received a letter from Tanya Winegard, Creighton vice provost for student life, warning her that “Student Health Education and Compliance (SHEC) records indicate that you have not submitted the required documentation. Therefore, you are in violation of the Creighton University Standards of Conduct.”
The Vatican and U.S. bishops have issued documents allowing members to take the vaccines “developed and/or tested using abortion derived fetal cell lines,” and have even encouraged the faithful to do so, but they have also declared that nobody has a moral obligation to do so, allowing for religious exemptions.
“At the same time, practical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary,” declares a Vatican instruction approved by Pope Francis in December 2020.
Nevertheless, with the Biden administration allowing religious exemptions but requiring documentation from religious institutions to get them, the U.S. bishops and various Catholic institutions have become bitterly divided over whether to write letters for people seeking them.
The Christian Post reported that Creighton has a 93 percent vaccination rate, well above the national average, and that several other universities have faced legal actions for forcing students to be vaccinated.