Thus far, no judge has granted a countrywide order to protect all active-duty members from prospective consequences for refusing to comply with the vaccine requirement. As such a climate prevails, a female Air Force officer has become the first to get an exemption from Covid vaccine mandate on religious grounds over the jab’s connection to abortion.
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Because of the vaccine’s ‘connection to abortion,’ a federal judge in Georgia has momentarily permitted an Air Force member to stay unvaccinated against COVID, marking her the first person of the branch to be exempted from the military-wide requirement, reports Daily Mail.
According to court records (read below), U.S. District Court Judge Tillman E. Self III issued a preliminary injunction for the anonymous Air Force Reserve officer on Tuesday.
The Air Force’s system for accepting a low number of religion-based coronavirus vaccine exemptions was labelled as ‘illusory and insincere’ in the judge’s ruling.
The Air Force had impeded on the officer’s First Amendment rights when the internal assessment process dismissed her original application, according to Judge Self, who is located in Macon, Georgia. The year before, she completed a religious-based waiver and challenged the Air Force’s denial in December.
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Her legal claim is that she is unable to get vaccinated because of her Christian beliefs, noting her opposition to abortion, which she describes as “a grave evil.”
The officer’s ‘natural immunity’ after screening positive for COVID in 2020 was also detailed in the lawsuit. The woman had taken an antibody test in December of last year, which revealed that she still had some antibodies in her body.
According to the lawsuit, she is also prepared to ‘take regular [coronavirus] tests when working in-person on the base, wear a mask, socially distance and work remotely as appropriate.’
The court’s judgement arrives just eight days after the Air Force awarded medical or nonreligious exemptions to more than 3,000 service members – a first for the armed branch.
‘It seems illogical to think, let alone argue, that plaintiff’s religious-based refusal to take a [coronavirus] vaccine would ‘seriously impede’ military function when the Air Force has at least 3,300 other service members still on duty who are just as unvaccinated as her,’ Self’s order read, according to court documents.
‘The only difference is that plaintiff is unvaccinated because she followed her religion and the others were granted either a medical or administrative exemption from receiving a [coronavirus] vaccine.’
Self, a four-year Army veteran, said that the Air Force’s protocol for service personnel requesting religious-based exclusions ought to be reviewed.
‘With such a marked record disfavoring religious accommodation requests, the court easily finds that the Air Force’s process to protect religious rights is both illusory and insincere,’ he wrote. ‘In short, it’s just theater.’
On behalf of an Air Force officer from the Robins Air Force Base in Macon, Georgia, the case was initiated on January 6. The military branch still hadn’t permitted any religious exclusions at the time, with the very first nine applications being granted only on February 8.
As per internal military data, the Air Force has denied 3,665 religion-based applications and then had to assess 3,288 more as of February 8. Per a statement released last week, the Air Force had fired 142 active-duty military personnel for refusing to take the vaccine.
‘The Department of the Air Force is aware of the preliminary injunction and will abide by the court’s order until the matter is legally resolved. The Air Force has no other comments about this ongoing litigation,’ Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.
The Air Force officer engaged in the complaint is thought to be a 25-year veteran with no previous record of violating the branch’s disciplinary regulations.
Her job description inside the document is ‘an administrative position in the Air Force Reserve,’ which means she won’t be able to participate in just about any physical combat or military operations. She’ll most likely work as a civilian at the Robins Air Force Base.
In addition to her court case, the officer had submitted an independent application for religious-based accommodation to the coronavirus vaccine requirement as a civilian, but the Air Force were yet to rule on it before a federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from imposing a vaccine mandate on federal civilians in January.
The officer would presumably retire from the Air Force ‘under protest’ if she is not allowed an exemption from the military-wide vaccine requirement imposed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in August.
The US administration has authorized and supported the three primary COVID vaccine choices: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna.
Although one amongst them, created by Johnson and Johnson, was researched and produced using fetal cell lines, the vaccinations do not comprise of any aborted fetal cells or tissue. This indicates that injections do not contain any fetal cells or tissue.
Numerous religious groups, notably the Vatican, have endorsed the vaccinations, claiming that they are ethically permissible.
‘Plaintiff sincerely believes that receiving a vaccine that was derived from or tested on aborted fetal tissue in its development would violate her conscience and is contrary to her faith,’ the lawsuit reads.
‘… Fidelity to her religious beliefs is more important to plaintiff than her career and compensation, but the Constitution prohibits defendants from forcing her to choose between her beliefs and her employment.’
In altogether, the Air Force officer is at least the 38th member of the armed forces to be granted a court order barring the Pentagon from disciplining them for failing to adhere with the vaccine order.
In January, a federal judge in Texas issued preliminary injunctions against punishment to 35 Navy service members, including nine ‘Navy special operators’ and 26 Navy SEALS. Another federal judge in Florida suspended martial penalties against a Navy officer and a Marine Corps officer in a different case last month.
Thus far, no judge has granted a countrywide order to protect all active-duty members from prospective consequences for refusing to comply with the vaccine requirement.
Self stated in his ruling that the Air Force officer had expressed her backing for the notion in her lawsuit.
He did, nevertheless, say that her lawsuit’s arguments ‘simply don’t warrant a nationwide injunction.’
Read the full document below: