Vaccine Mandates Strike Kentucky: Know Your Rights

August 6, 2021

 Vaccine Mandates Strike Kentucky: Know Your Rights

Vaccination mandates have created a stir throughout the nation and now they’re popping up in Kentucky in a coordinated way.

11 of the Commonwealth’s health care systems recently signed a pledge stating they “will require our health care workforce to initiate a complete COVID-19 vaccination series no later than Sept. 15, 2021.”

Yesterday, Governor Beshear (D) praised the hospital executives of Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Baptist Health, CHI Saint Joseph Health, King’s Daughters Health System, Med Center Health, Norton Healthcare, Pikeville Medical Center, St. Claire Healthcare, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, UK Healthcare, and UofL Health.

Beshear didn’t stop with praise though, he urged all employers to do likewise—all employers should force their employees to get the vaccine, firing those who refuse.

 

Deeply Concerning—Violates Informed Consent

Regardless of one’s personal views on the COVID-19 vaccines, these developments are deeply concerning and undermine one of the most basic and widely-recognized principles of medical ethics—informed consent.

The American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 2.1.1 recognizes informed medical consent to medical treatment as “fundamental in both ethics and law.” It explains that “patients have the right to receive information and ask questions about recommended treatments so that they can make well-considered decisions about care.”

Should the health care workers hailed as heroes for their tireless work through the pandemic now be fired simply because they don’t wish to consent to a vaccine after carefully weighing the burdens, risks, and expected benefits of all options, including forgoing the vaccine?

Should anyone be fired for making a personal medical decision after weighing all available information?

We aren’t the only ones concerned. CNBC’s latest All-America Economic Survey found that a majority of Americans oppose vaccine requirements at their workplace.

Many of our supporters have also reached out because they or someone they know are facing this dilemma firsthand. It isn’t a theoretical exercise in medical ethics, for them it is a choice between submitting to a medical treatment forced upon them against their will or putting food on the table for their families.

 

State Legislation—Bills Proposed Last Session and Pre-Filed for Next Session

Kentucky state law does not currently outright prohibit employers from mandating a vaccine. Several bills were filed during the 2021 Session to do so, but state legislators did not pass them.

Senate Bills 37 and 98 would have prohibited employers from requiring a vaccine as a condition of employment, but both bills died in the Senate Health & Welfare Committee without a hearing.

At least one bill has been pre-filed for the 2022 Session (in January) that would, among other things, prohibit discrimination on the basis of vaccination status. Bill Request 106 by Rep. Savannah Maddox.

 

Religious Exemptions to Vaccine Mandates

Even if an employer mandates a vaccine, federal law requires them to provide religious exemptions.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on various grounds, including religion, and requires employers to accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs.

Many people of faith, as a matter of conscience, have chosen not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

For some, it is because abortion-derived fetal stem cell lines were used in the vaccines’ design & development, production, and/or lab tests.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute reports that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines used abortion-derived cells in some lab tests; while the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine used abortion-derived cells in its design & development, production, and lab tests.

Others say it is a matter of honoring God in caring for their body, protecting the sanctity of the life of children they may choose to have, and other various matters of conscience.

IF YOU conscientiously object to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as a matter of faith, there are Christian legal organizations that have resources on how to apply for a religious exemption.

Some resources are provided below, but you can contact First Liberty or Liberty Counsel directly if additional assistance is required.

 

RESOURCES

Vaccine Protection Kit – First Liberty Institute

COVID Vaccination Religious Accommodation Primer – Alliance Defending Freedom

Employment Sample Request For Religious Accommodation – Alliance Defending Freedom

Student Sample Request For Religious Accommodation – Alliance Defending Freedom

Pastoral Sample Letter Supporting Religious Accommodation Request – Alliance Defending Freedom

Sample Religious Exemption Requests For COVID Shot Mandates – Liberty Counsel