Liberty Counsel filed a motion for an injunction pending appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals asking for relief on behalf of health care workers who have been unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions from the COVID shot mandate by NorthShore University HealthSystem. Liberty Counsel is asking the appeals court to intervene now, before the appeal is decided, to prevent irreparable harm to NorthShore employees.
NorthShore has already terminated many of those employees with sincere religious objections to its “Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy,” by removing many of those employees from work schedule, including those whose appeals were still pending.
NorthShore previously granted exemptions for some employees but then denied them in mid-September. Those denials were either without explanation or because the requests failed to meet some so-called “evidence-based criteria” that NorthShore never provided the employees in advance. NorthShore then only gave employees three business days to file an appeal without stating what was missing in the original application. In that appeal, NorthShore also apparently judged the validity of their religious beliefs by requiring them to include their entire vaccination history since the age of eighteen. However, NorthShore never requested employees to provide prior vaccine information in their initial exemption requests.
After denying these employees, NorthShore also changed its exemption form to include a warning that all religious objections based on “aborted fetal cell lines, stem cells, tissue or derivative materials will result in denials.” NorthShore is falsely deceptive in that form by stating that the COVID-19 injections have no link to aborted fetal cell lines and refuting the religious beliefs of health care workers who object to the undeniable connection of the injections to aborted fetal cell lines.
Illinois law dictates that employees at NorthShore University HealthSystem have the fundamental right to determine what medical care to accept and refuse. In fact, Illinois has a Health Care Right of Conscience Act that provides strong protection to all residents against discrimination based on health care choices. It states: “It shall be unlawful for any person, public or private institution, or public official to discriminate against any person in any manner, including but not limited to, licensing, hiring, promotion, or any other privileges, because of such person’s conscientious refusal to receive, obtain, accept or participate in any way in any particular form of health care services contrary to his or her conscience” (emphasis added).
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “NorthShore University HealthSystem cannot ignore state and federal law and terminate employees whose sincere religious beliefs prohibit them from receiving these COVID shots. These health care workers need relief from the court from these unlawful actions.”