An anti-vaxxer high school student has lost his lawsuit against the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which banned him and other unvaccinated kids from attending school and extracurricular events.
We covered this case in March, when 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel first filed his lawsuit. He was banned from school and basketball in response to outbreaks of chickenpox, which is thought to be harmless but can actually kill some children. (Governor Matt Bevin later said he exposed his kids to chickenpox himself, something experts consider a horrible idea.)
Specifically, Kunkel had argued that all vaccines are against his religious beliefs and that banning him based on that would amount to faith-based discrimination. Thankfully, a judge saw through that nonsense argument.
The health department released the following statement in reaction to the ruling:
“Today the Boone Circuit Court issued a decision upholding the Northern Kentucky District Health Department’s statutory charge to protect the health and welfare of the community. We are pleased with the Court’s careful and thorough review of the evidence and legal issues posed in this case. The Court’s ruling, which follows on the heels of the Northern Kentucky Health Department receiving national recognition through re-accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board, underscores the critical need for Public Health Departments to preserve the safety of the entire community, and in particular the safety of those members of our community who are most susceptible to the dire consequences when a serious, infectious disease such as varicella, is left unabated and uncontrolled.”
An outbreak of 32 cases of the chicken pox at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Assumption Academy prompted the health department to ban all students without proof of immunity from the school for 21 days.
Kunkel’s faith-based argument was based on his belief that the vaccines “derived from aborted fetal cells,” but even the National Catholic Bioethics Center says the vaccine doesn’t contain aborted cells and is therefore OK to use. In other words, he was demonstrably wrong on his own terms.
His attorney claimed Kunkel was discriminated against and ‘targeted’ because of his religious beliefs.
He asked the court to enter an injunction so every child without the vaccination can return to school, calling the health department’s decision an abuse of office.
Prosecutors disagreed, saying Kunkel’s right to practice religion doesn’t give him, or any of the other students, a right to put others at risk.
We don’t say this often, but Kentucky was right. And the judge agreed that the student’s “religious freedom” didn’t give him the right to endanger others.
(Image via Shutterstock)