September 17, 2021

A hospital system in Arkansas is calling on those applying for religious exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate to swear off common medicines, such as Tylenol, Tums, and even Preparation H. This was prompted by an unusual uptick in requests that cited the use of fetal cell lines in the development and testing of the vaccines. Via Ars Technica:

"This was significantly disproportionate to what we've seen with the influenza vaccine," Matt Troup, president and CEO of Conway Regional Health System, told Becker's Hospital Review in an interview Wednesday.

"Thus," Troup went on, "we provided a religious attestation form for those individuals requesting a religious exemption," he said. The form includes a list of 30 commonly used medicines that "fall into the same category as the COVID-19 vaccine in their use of fetal cell lines," Conway Regional said.

The list includes Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, aspirin, Tums, Lipitor, Senokot, Motrin, ibuprofen, Maalox, Ex-Lax, Benadryl, Sudafed, albuterol, Preparation H, MMR vaccine, Claritin, Zoloft, Prilosec OTC, and azithromycin.

[...] Employees are asked to attest that they "truthfully acknowledge and affirm that my sincerely held religious belief is consistent and true" and that they do not and will not use the medications and any others like them.

Troup says the hospital wants to make sure staff members are sincere about their stated beliefs, and also wants to "educate staff who might have requested an exemption without understanding the full scope of how fetal cells are used in testing and development in common medicines."

I've been muttering about this for a few weeks. I remember what draftees during the Vietnam war had to go through to get conscientious objector status, and it seems insane to just take these people at their word, without any questioning or closer examination.

As to the religious angle? Well, in the Middle Ages, cloistered nuns who led sheltered lives used to compete to find mostly imaginary sins for the periodic visits from traveling confessors. The problem was finally nipped in the bud when priests told them they were guilty of the sin of "overscrupulousity."

I think about that a lot with the forced-birth crowd. They're just too pure for this world!

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