More than 150 Minnesota nurses filed an expansive federal lawsuit late Monday against policies that would force them to get the COVID-19 vaccination or be fired.
“The Plaintiffs are currently being impermissibly coerced to violate their religious beliefs and their rights under federal and state law,” the lawsuit argues.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, names U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky as defendants.
The nurses filed the lawsuit using pseudonyms out of fear of “being ostracized,” fired or facing “other retaliatory consequences if their names become known.” The lawsuit argues that the nurses would be subjected to “public hate” if their identities were revealed because of the “pervasive climate of fear and loathing of the unvaccinated.”
The lawsuit quotes President Joe Biden, who said: “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us … For the vast majority of you who have gotten vaccinated, I understand your anger at those who haven’t gotten vaccinated.”
“Influential Americans, including the President himself, are stirring up ‘anger,’ blame, and hostility against the unvaccinated, necessitating anonymity in this lawsuit,” states the complaint.
Biden made these comments earlier this month when he announced a series of far-reaching vaccine mandates that will impact an estimated 100 million workers.
Biden’s mandate will be implemented through federal regulations. He has directed the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to craft a rule forcing all private companies with 100 or more employees to require their workers to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
Biden has also ordered the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to force vaccination on all health care workers at facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds. This is expected to impact 17 million health care workers across America, who are already dealing with a crippling labor shortage. There is no explicit weekly testing option for health care workers.
It’s this second mandate that the lawsuit targets. The rule is set to be finalized and implemented sometime in October. But even if the rule is somehow overturned, health care workers would still face separate vaccination requirements from their employers.
Hence, the lawsuit names 20 health care providers across Minnesota as defendants, including Mayo Clinic, Allina Health, Fairview Health, North Memorial Health Care, and more.
“The Plaintiff employees include some whose sincere religious beliefs compel them to refuse vaccinations with the available Covid-19 vaccines, all of which employ aborted fetus cell lines in their testing, development, or production,” the lawsuit says.
Other objectors have been denied religious exemptions, possess “robust natural immunity,” are pregnant or are “unwilling to risk taking a vaccine.”
“Medical workers were hailed as heroes throughout this pandemic, and in fact the Plaintiff employee medical workers have worked with patients for 18 months without vaccinations. Now, however, they are required to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. Instead of being hailed as heroes now, they are chastised and ridiculed as ‘anti-vaxxers’ or worse,” the lawsuit adds.
It also includes a strong rebuke of the media, who spent months praising frontline workers but now attack them “as pariahs who must be set apart from society until they are shamed, threatened, or now mandated into vaccinating.”
The lawsuit asks the courts to declare these mandates unconstitutional and provide protections from termination or unpaid leave to the nurses while the case unfolds.