Four Christian student athletes at Western Michigan University won a victory in court Tuesday when a federal judge temporarily blocked the university from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate against them.

FOX 2 reports the temporary restraining order from U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney means the four young women will not be kicked off the university soccer team because of their religious and pro-life beliefs.

“We are very pleased with the decision, so we’ll see where it goes from here,” said attorney David Kallman, senior counsel with the Great Lakes Justice Center. “Our clients are very thrilled, very happy, they are allowed to continue to play … and be at practices and teammates until we get to court the end of next week.”

Western Michigan University recently issued a mandate requiring all student athletes, coaches and others involved in sports on campus to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Those who refuse may not participate in athletics.

Christian students Emily Dahl, Hannah Redoute, Bailey Korhorn and Morgan Otteson filed a lawsuit after they said the university refused to give them a religious exemption in violation of their religious freedom. One student said she is Catholic and pro-life, and she should not be forced to take an “abortion-tainted” vaccine, according to the AP.

All four students have athletic scholarships, and two are team captains.

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BREAKING: A federal judge has blocked Western Michigan University’s forced vaccine mandate after pro-life students filed suit because their conscience rights were not respected.https://t.co/tAt7y7zOpZ pic.twitter.com/MeWqH3uBgR

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The students’ lawyers said they all agreed to wear masks and undergo regular COVID-19 testing, but the university still refused. The lawyers noted that the university has not imposed a vaccine requirement on any other students.

Also on Tuesday, Maloney denied a similar request from a Michigan State University employee who objects to the university’s vaccine mandate; the woman said she had COVID-19 last year and does not need the vaccine, WSJM Sports reports. Both of Maloney’s decisions are temporary.

Vaccine mandates are being challenged in court across the country, some by pro-life individuals who cannot in good conscience take a vaccine that has been developed and/or tested with cell lines created from aborted babies.

But opinions about the ethics of the COVID-19 vaccines vary even among many Christians and pro-life advocates. The Vatican recently issued a statement declaring that it is morally acceptable for Catholics to take vaccines even if they use cell lines created from aborted babies because of the vaccines’ life-saving impact. But other Catholic and pro-life leaders have argued that any connection between the vaccines and the killing of unborn babies in abortions is immoral.

None of the vaccines contain cells from aborted babies, but they all have links to abortion, some more-so than others.

The companies Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca used cell lines created from babies who were aborted decades ago in the development and testing of their vaccines. These cell lines are clones of the aborted babies’ cells. The connections between abortion and the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are much more limited, with cell lines created from aborted babies used only in testing the products.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute has a list of the vaccines with information about whether cell lines created from aborted babies were used in testing and/or production. Find it here.

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