A Scripps Ranch High School student-athlete's religious rights lawsuit filed against the San Diego Unified School District over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate is asking The U.S. Court of Appeals for an emergency injunction with only days left before the mandate deadline.
The 16-year-old junior and her parents are seeking an injunction before Nov. 29, the day, according to the student's attorneys, the student must begin the vaccination process so she can be considered fully vaccinated by the SDUSD's Dec. 20 deadline.
The family's chief complaint is that COVID-19 vaccines "were all either made or tested using aborted fetal cells," attorney Paul Jonna said in a statement. "Our clients are firmly pro-life and refuse to benefit from vaccines that were made in this way, which they view as immoral - as do many other people of faith.”
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They also say that by refusing the vaccine, the student will have to stop playing sports and will lose out on potential sports scholarships.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is considering the request for emergency injunction and has given the school district until Nov. 23 to respond, Jonna said.
The district's mandate, according to Jonna, was built on "obviously unconstitutional framework,” and presents "significant constitutional issues.”
Read the full lawsuit here.
The lawsuit also argues the district has exemptions for others, including foster youth, homeless children, migrant and military families or those in special education.
"What she is saying is that San Diego Unified School District's exemption allows for exemptions on a case-by-case basis for migrant youth, for foster youth and homeless youth," legal analyst Dan Eaton told NBC 7 in October. "And what she's saying is, if you're going to do that, you have to allow people with bona fide religious exemptions to assert that right to be excepted also."
Eaton said that if the student wins this lawsuit, she gets the right to apply for a religious exemption, not necessarily the right to have the religious exemption accepted by the district. At issue is the fact that other vaccines were developed using fetal cells, like polio, chickenpox and rubella.
"What some people are saying is that, 'Look, the same kind of materials were used in vaccines you have gotten in the past. You can't say you have a bona fide religious objection on the same basis to the COVID-19 vaccine'," Eaton said.