On July 19, a federal judge refused to put Indiana University’s COVID vaccination mandate for students on hold until the end of the lawsuit in which eight IU students represented by
America’s Frontline Doctors and The Bopp Law Firm challenged IU’s COVID Vaccination Mandate.
In May of this year, IU announced it will be requiring all students, faculty, and staff to receive COVID vaccinations before they can return to IU for the fall semester with stringent and limited exemptions to the Mandate for those with religious or medical exemptions. Even if a student is granted an exemption they are still subject to rigorous extra-requirements, regardless of why they received an exemption. In June, The Bopp Law Firm, on behalf of IU students, filed a lawsuit against IU to preserve students’ rights to bodily autonomy, due process, an education free from unnecessary restrictions, and the right to consent to medical treatment.
After the July 19 ruling attorney James Bopp, Director of Litigation for America’s Frontline Doctors, and lead counsel in the lawsuit, said, “Today’s ruling does not end the students’ fight—we plan to immediately appeal the judge’s decision… In addition, we plan on asking the judge to put a hold on IU’s Mandate pending that appeal. We are confident the court of appeals will agree that the Mandate should be put on hold.”
“Continuing our fight against this unconstitutional mandate is necessary to guarantee that IU students receive the fair due process they’re owed by a public university,” said Bopp. “An admitted IU student’s right to attend IU cannot be conditioned on the student waiving their rights to bodily integrity, bodily autonomy, and consent to medical treatment like IU has done here. IU’s Mandate did not properly balance the risks (both known and unknown) of the COVID vaccine to college-age students against the risks of COVID itself to that population and that college-aged students have a very low risk of adverse effects from a COVID infection. Furthermore, IU did not adequately consider the waning stage of the COVID pandemic before issuing its Mandate.”
Dr. Simone Gold, founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, said: “We are troubled to see the Court show any hesitation in their resolve to recognize and protect each person’s sovereignty over their own body. Voluntary consent to receiving medications is black letter law since World War II. America’s Frontline Doctors will relentlessly pursue equal justice for all students and all people according to the rule of law.”
Dr. Gold continued, “In a time when information is spread faster and farther than any previous point in history, it is critical that those in positions of authority are thorough and factual in their consideration of the data relevant to the policies they seek to implement. No fact could be more relevant to the issue of student vaccine mandates than the statistically near zero risk to the students themselves. Any mandate or coercion to take a new drug that lacks long-term safety data is unreasonable and unethical.”
Yesterday the Indiana University Students, represented by America’s Frontline Doctors and The Bopp Law Firm, appealed the federal judge’s ruling which refused to put Indiana University’s COVID Vaccination Mandate on hold until the end of the lawsuit. The students also asked that the district court prevent Indiana University from enforcing its COVID Vaccination Mandate while the appeal is pending.
Background: In May of this year, IU announced it will be requiring all students, faculty, and staff to receive COVID vaccinations before they can return to IU for the fall semester with stringent and limited exemptions to the Mandate for those with religious or medical exemptions. Even if a student is granted an exemption they are still subject to rigorous extra requirements, regardless of why they received an exemption. In June, The Bopp Law Firm, on behalf of IU students, filed a lawsuit against IU to preserve students’ rights to bodily integrity and autonomy, due process, and the right to consent to medical treatment.
The federal district court found that students constitutional rights were at issue, but failed to acknowledge that these rights were fundamental. Students believe that their right to bodily integrity and bodily autonomy are so fundamental that IU should have to meet a high bar, justifying why such extreme measures are necessary, something IU has not done. If this high standard is employed—which Students have asked the district court to do and will ask the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to do—Students are confident that their claims will succeed.
“We are committed to continuing the students’ fight,” said James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, Director of Litigation for America’s Frontline Doctors, and lead counsel in the lawsuit. “In addition to appealing, we have asked the district judge to prevent IU from enforcing its Mandate while the appeal is pending. Preventing enforcement of this Mandate and continuing to fight is the only way to protect these students and guarantee that their fundamental constitutional rights are not violated.”
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