Medical school cannot ban students who do not vaccinate for religious reasons says judge

Vanesa Catanzaro 
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
Exterior of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine building in Monroe, La., on Jan. 14, 2019. (Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine Screenshot via TheBL/Facebook)
A Louisiana medical school wrongly prohibited students from attending because they refused the COVID-19 (CCP virus) vaccine under a religious exemption, a court has ruled.

The U.S. Western District Court of Louisiana’s Monroe Division issued a temporary restraining order against Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM). The action came after three students complained about being barred from obtaining an education, because taking the experimental jab contradicted their religious beliefs.

Rachel Lynn Magliulo, Matthew Shea Willis and Kirsten Willis Hall claimed the vaccine in question was created from aborted fetal tissue. This allegedly violated their religious beliefs.

The trio also claimed they refused to be vaccinated because the products are experimental and only licensed for emergency use.

Judge Terry Doughty agreed that VCOM’s vaccination policy had violated religious freedom rights.

“The plaintiffs’s potential harm of a constitutional violation, ability to complete their education, ethics charges, and possible expulsion outweighs VCOM’s interest,” he said in the final decision.

Doughty also found the vaccine policy prevented students from joining the Standardized Patient Examinations and Early Clinical Experiences, which are required to be completed before graduation.

“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,” he said in the decision.

The judge also questioned the legality of the college’s lack of tolerance for differences in opinion.

“If the legislature of Louisiana had intended for a college to be able to restrict students’s dissents, it would have put that language in the statute,” he said. “Restrictions that keep students from completing their curriculum defeats the purpose of having the right of dissent.”

The remarks came after VCOM emailed students on June 30, saying they must be fully vaccinated against the CCP virus to enroll in fall 2021 classes.

The college promised to evaluate religious and medical exemptions on an individual basis. It also set the following additional restrictions:

  • exemptions will expire once federal regulators fully authorize vaccination, at which point they will have to be immunized or reapply for an exemption
  • face masks must be worn, except for when eating or drinking in isolation from other students–failure to comply will result in suspension
  • unvaccinated students may only collaborate with those who agree to be paired up with an unvaccinated classmate
  • unvaccinated students are prohibited from participating in Standardized Patient Examinations and Early Clinical Practices, which will be postponed until COVID-19 has subsided or the vaccine is approved.

The temporary restraining order will remain in effect, pending the case’s final outcome or further orders from higher courts according to Breitbart.

Attorney Michael DuBos, who represented the students in court, is very pleased with the decision.

“It is important to respect individual rights, especially in a time of crisis,” he said according to the publication. “If not, it sets a dangerous precedent.”


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