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Judge Dismisses Maine Lawsuit Against COVID Vaccine Order

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Patrick Whittle

PORTLAND, ME (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a group of health care workers who said they were unfairly discriminated against by health care workers in Maine dismissed the appeal. COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

The plaintiffs sued Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and other Maine officials, as well as a group of medical organizations in the state. Workers argued that the vaccine order did not provide exemptions from religious beliefs, thus violating their right to the free exercise of religion.

Maine District U.S. District Court Chief Judge John Levy wrote on Thursday that the vaccine mandate was "reasonable" and "needs no further analysis."

"Reducing the number of unimmunized health care workers in Maine's designated health care facilities will limit the spread of COVID-19, protect Maine's health care capacity, It is reasonably related to the government's interest in protecting the lives and health of the people of Maine," Levy wrote.

The workers remained anonymous after filing the lawsuit until July, when a federal appeals court in Boston said they had to reveal their identities. They argued that it was their religious right to refuse vaccines over their belief that fetal stem cells from abortions would be used to develop them.

Liberty Counsel, the law firm that represents employees, said in a statement Friday that it would appeal the dismissal. In a statement, the company said Levi's dismissal was "seriously flawed" and "contrary to recent Supreme Court precedents, including COVID restrictions on places of worship and many other Supreme Court decisions."

Vaccine mandates went into effect in October. The plaintiffs had hoped to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the case earlier this year. .

The lawsuit named some of the state's largest medical networks as defendants. Her one of those networks, Northern Light Health, said in a statement Friday that it was upheld by the court's ruling.

"Our medical institutions have always strived to act in the best interests of our patients and staff during this difficult time, and the courts have determined that our actions in this matter have been fully enforced. We are pleased to have verified to," the statement said.

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