Appeals Court Refuses to Stop Maine Vaccine Mandate, Organization Mulls Turning to Supreme Court

October 16, 2021 Updated: October 16, 2021

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday refused to issue an emergency injunction to stop Maine’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The three-judge panel of the Boston-based court issued a one-sentence statement saying the request was denied without an explanation, The Bangor Daily News reported.

A final ruling will likely be issued next week, according to Liberty Counsel, an organization representing more than 2,000 health care workers across the state in the lawsuit.

“We look forward to a decision from the Court of Appeals. If that decision is not favorable, we will request emergency relief from the Supreme Court,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey applauded the decision.

“We are pleased with the decision and will continue to vigorously defend the requirement that health care workers in Maine be vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said in a statement obtained by The Hill.

The Epoch Times reached out to Frey’s office for comments.

Epoch Times Photo
Maine Governor Janet Mills attends the Climate Action Summit 2019 in the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York, N.Y., on Sept. 23, 2019. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

Maine Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, announced her state’s mandate on Aug. 12 that workers have until Oct. 29 to comply.

Exemptions were allowed for medical reasons. Unlike most states, Maine does not allow for religious or philosophical exemptions to vaccine requirements.

The plan was challenged by a group of healthcare workers who said they opposed COVID-19 vaccines because some vaccines were developed from cell lines of aborted fetuses. The workers also sued several healthcare companies where they work.

U.S. district judge Jon Levy ruled on Wednesday that Maine can bar religious exemptions to its requirement that healthcare workers in the state get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Levy, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, said the healthcare workers who brought the case have not been prevented from staying true to their religious beliefs, although refusing the vaccine will cost them their jobs.

Maine removed religious exemptions from mandated vaccines in 2019 and voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum challenging the law last year. As a result, the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is consistent with state law and does not single out religion, Levy said.

The Liberty Counsel and health care workers appealed to the 1st circuit after Levy’s ruling.

Reuters contributed to the report.

Allen Zhong
senior writer
Allen Zhong is a long-time writer and reporter for The Epoch Times. He joined the Epoch Media Group in 2012. His main focus is on U.S. politics.