The couple facing CU Anschutz, plus Chancellor Donald Elliman and Senior Associate Dean Shanta Zimmer in the US District Court for the District of Colorado identify themselves as Jane Doe MD and John Doe, and their grievances they focus on matters of faith. The lawsuit’s fiery openness argues: “The University of Colorado has enacted a Policy that divides its staff and students into two categories based on their religious beliefs: ‘Sheep,’ whose religions teach the approved orthodoxy, receive exemptions to the vaccine. COVID of the University. Mandate, while ‘goats’, who have unapproved religious beliefs, are denied exemptions and then fired or expelled. Only those who belong to religions’ whose teachings oppose all immunizations “They can ascend to University Valhalla. Everyone else, including the Plaintiffs here, a Catholic and a Buddhist, must be expelled.”
The organization representing the Does is the Thomas More Society, whose mission statement identifies it as “a nonprofit national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect for the law for life, family, and religious liberty. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society advocates and encourages support for these cases by providing high-quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts to the United States Supreme Court. ” The organization is clearly looking for more fights of this type; an article at the top of their website reads: “If you are looking for legal advice on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, please click on the link.”
The lawsuit contends that Dr. Jane Doe, a pediatrician, “will be imminently fired from Anschutz teaching faculty and will lose her staff privileges at Anschutz University Hospital in Colorado Springs effective October 1, 2021, due to to her religiously-based inability to accept the COVID vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson … Because the COVID vaccine relies on strains of fetal cells derived from aborted, developing, or testing fetal tissue, she believes that receiving the injection would violate their deeply held religious beliefs that abortion is a grave sin. ”
This is the same point of view adopted by Bob Enyart, longtime Denver pastor, podcast host, and media personality who fell with COVID-19 in late August, just under a year after winning a Temporary injunction against Colorado’s masking and capacity rules in religious services. Earlier this month, Enyart died of the disease..
In response to Enyart’s claim that the vaccines were tested “on cells from aborted babies,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided context, with a spokesperson noting that “none of the currently licensed and approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain human cells or tissues” before pointing to the “frequently asked questions” page on the department’s website. The reference there confirms that “some human cell lines were used in the production of Janssen’s vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna used human cell lines to test their vaccines … Human cell lines are sometimes used in the early stages of development of the vaccine because the viruses from which those vaccines are made need live cells to reproduce. These cell lines originally came from fetal tissue more than thirty years ago. None of the original tissue remains today; all descendant cells are grown in laboratories. No new fetal tissue is required in vaccine development and production. ”
This distant connection is still too much for Dr. Jane Doe, who has a degree in bioethics. Because of his refusal to receive the vaccine, the lawsuit maintains, “he will not be able to practice his profession as a pediatric care specialist within 100 miles of the campus of the medical school in Aurora, or the associated Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs, and effectively throughout the state of Colorado, for a period of two years if she is fired. ”
As for John Doe, the lawsuit claims that he was, as of early this fall, a freshman at CU Anschutz, but is now “being kicked out of that program for Policy and the illegal actions of Defendants” because it is ” a devout Buddhist who made a vow to the Buddha ten years ago (after visiting a major monastery in China) that he would live a moral life. ” In a letter to CU Anschutz administrators last month, John Doe wrote: “I believe that the production of vaccines using fetal cells from aborted babies is directly against my belief in the Buddha’s doctrine of no kill and no harm.”
In response to these claims, CU Anschutz Communications Director Mark Couch provided this statement to Westword September 29: “The School of Medicine received the presentation today and is reviewing it. Our vaccination policy is critical for the School of Medicine to provide a safe and healthy place for our students to learn, our patients to receive care, and our faculty and staff to work. Each year, faculty members of the College of Medicine care for more than two million patients, and our mandatory vaccination requirement provides the best way to protect the patients in their care. We have adopted this policy in recognition of our responsibility to provide leadership in public health in our state and beyond. ”