Maine had a severe shortage of health care workers long before COVID struck. In 2019, Maine hospitals and health care agencies began offering lucrative bonuses to entice workers to the state's remote northern regions.
James* and Stephanie* are Messianic Jews who have committed their lives to serving others. Stephanie is a registered nurse, and James is studying to become a nurse practitioner.
The couple had a comfortable home in Asheville, N.C., where they had intended to live out the rest of their lives. But the need for health care workers in an underserved part of the country weighed on their hearts.
After weeks of prayer, Stephanie and her husband decided to answer Maine's desperate call for health care professionals. Stephanie accepted a three-year contract and a relocation bonus from a rural coastal Maine hospital in serious need of nurses. James was accepted into a nurse practitioner program.
In November 2020, Stephanie and James sold their house, packed up their belongings and set off with their children in tow for a new life of service in rural Presque Isle, Maine.
After working through the worst of the pandemic, all seemed fine. But on August 12, 2021, Gov. Mills issued a mandate requiring all health care workers in Maine to get the shots—with no exceptions.
Stephanie and James object to the COVID jabs because they used aborted fetal cells in their development or testing. Stephanie's religious exemption was denied, because Mills ordered all health care facilities to deny all such requests.
Stephanie resubmitted her religious exemption paperwork requesting an appeal, but to no avail. On August 24, 2021, she was fired. Security officers took her badge and keys and escorted her out of the building.
The hospital then demanded Stephanie pay back 75% of the relocation bonus given her to move nine months earlier!
Gov. Mills went one step further, proclaiming that health care workers fired for not getting the vaccine would also not receive unemployment benefits.
Stephanie applied for another job. The hospital official said she would love to hire her but said her hands are tied because Gov. Mills' order says religious exemptions are not permitted.
Mills and state officials claim that federal law does not apply in Maine. Mills threatened to revoke the licenses of all health care employers that accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees.
Friday, the Supreme Court chose not to grant extraordinary relief of an injunction, pending a full review of the case. We will now ask the Supreme Court to review the full merits of our case on behalf of more than 2,000 Maine health care workers, some of whom were terminated Friday.
Also, on Friday, we won a restraining order against NorthShore University HealthSystem on behalf of of health care workers in Illinois. I will update you on this case as soon as possible.
Finally, on Friday, we received a welcomed order from the federal court in our class action lawsuit against Biden on behalf of members of the military. I will also update you on this case later this week.
The volume and intensity of our work is overwhelming. Our staff is literally working around the clock and through weekends to help them.
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