Four pro-life students are fighting in court against their Catholic university, saying its COVID-19 vaccine mandate violates their religious and moral beliefs.

The Omaha World-Herald reports the students object to the mandate because of the connections between the vaccines and aborted babies. They filed a lawsuit against Creighton University in Nebraska after they said their school refused to consider religious exemptions to the vaccine.

Creighton University, which says it is “committed to Jesuit, Catholic values and traditions,” required all of its students to provide proof of vaccination by Sept. 7 in order to attend classes and other events on campus, according to the report.

“A Catholic university should never be placing its students in such a position where they may be required to violate the teachings of the Church,” said attorney Robert Sullivan, who is representing the students, in a statement.

One of the students, Lauren Ramaekers, is the president of the Students for Life club at Creighton. She said she cannot in good conscience take the vaccine “because of the use of abortion-derived fetal cells in the research and development of the vaccines.”

“…the use of fetal tissue, fetal cells, or any ‘product’ of abortion in the development and/or testing of a vaccine or any other medical treatment, is abhorrent to me,” she said in the lawsuit. “This is a sincerely held religious belief, which impacts my moral and ethical views of the world.”

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Vaccine mandates are being challenged in court across the country, some by pro-life individuals who object to a vaccine that has been developed and/or tested with cell lines created from aborted babies.

Earlier this month, four student athletes at Western Michigan University filed a similar lawsuit challenging their school’s vaccine mandate for athletes.

Opinions about the ethics of the new 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 COVID-19 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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