BURLINGTON, Ky. (CBS Local) — A Kentucky judge has ruled against a high school student who sued after he was barred from playing basketball because he wasn’t vaccinated against chickenpox.
In a lawsuit against the Northern Kentucky Health Department, 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel, a senior at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Assumption Academy in Walton, claimed the vaccine is against his religious beliefs because he believes it’s “derived from aborted fetal cells.”
Boone County Circuit Judge James R. Schrand on Tuesday denied Kunkel’s request to return to school activities, saying students who are not vaccinated can be banned from school and extracurricular activities.
An outbreak of 32 cases of the chickenpox 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 has been out of school since March 15.
His attorney, Chris Wiest, said Tuesday that Kunkel was “devastated” by the ruling and will review his options. Wiest said about 30 other students are out of school under the health department’s ban, and they have joined Kunkel’s legal cause.
Kunkel and his father, Bill, told CBS affiliate WKRC last month any vaccine that uses aborted fetal cells is “immoral, illegal, and sinful.”
“Since 1973, Roe v. Wade to now, they’ve killed 60 million, butchered 60 million babies and they’re going to rub it in a Christian’s face by taking that vaccine and putting aborted baby cells in it and putting it in your body,” Bill Kunkel said.
While the chickenpox vaccine relies on cell lines from two fetuses aborted in the 1960s, no further abortions were involved in continuing those lines and the Vatican has given the vaccine its blessing.