Catholic nun gets temporary exemption from D.C. healthcare worker vax mandate following lawsuit

( A Roman Catholic nun in Washington, D.C., was granted a temporary exemption from the city’s vaccine mandate last week after she had her medical license suspended.

Sister Deirdre “Dede” Byrne is not only a nun, she’s also a retired U.S. Army colonel and a physician-surgeon. She recently lost her medical license after filing a request for a religious exemption to the city’s mandate that all healthcare workers receive a vaccine for COVID-19.

In response, Byrne filed a lawsuit against the city, its Mayor Muriel Bowser as well as the D.C. Department of Health’s director. That lawsuit was filed in federal court in D.C. by the Thomas More Society, the organization that is representing Byrne in the case.

In a statement, Christopher Ferrara, special counsel for the Society, said:

“Sister Deirdre has sought — and been denied — a religious exemption from DC’s health worker COVID-19 vaccination mandate. All three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States have been tested, developed, or produced with cell lines derived from abortions, something to which Sister Deirdre has deep and sincere religious opposition.”

Byrne has many impressive accolades to her name. She has board certification to practice as a family physician and a general surgeon. She served overseas as a missionary and a soldier. She’s a member of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

And she currently provides medical services for free to people in need, which includes illegal immigrants and the poor.

Yet, the D.C. Department of Health ultimately denied her religious exemption request, after taking six months to make a decision.

While the department was considering her request, Byrne continued to practice medicine even though she wasn’t vaccinated. The clinics and hospitals she volunteered at allowed her to practice there since they were benefitting from the services she provided for free.

To notify her of the denial, the department emailed her a response in the form of a letter that was both unsigned and in a draft form.

In a press release, the Thomas More Society commented on the situation:

“The only stated basis for the denial is the legally non-existent grounds that her religious exemption would pose an ‘undue hardship’ to DC Health.”

In the release, the Society further pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

The city’s Department of Health conceded in their findings that Byrne’s request was indeed sincere. They admitted she not only contracted COVID-19 previously, but that T-cell testing confirmed that she has immunity to the disease.

Further, the department confirmed she wasn’t employed by them, meaning it “cannot as a matter of law suffer any ‘hardship'” from Byrne volunteering, the Thomas More Society said.

It’s simply baffling to consider that a person like Byrne would be denied a religious exemption from the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

If a Roman Catholic nun who is providing free medical services to those in need can’t qualify for a religious exemption, then who can?