Court to Consider Vegan's Termination for Refusal to Vax as Religious Discrimination

The Everything Birth community is home to many vegans. Gentle birthing and parenting goes hand-in-hand with vegans’ core values after all. Sakile Chenzira is also a vegan and Cinncinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center claimed that Sakile Chenzira’s refusal to be vaccinated with the flu vaccine warranted dismissal.

Chenzira is suing the hospital because she feels that her religious rights were discriminated against. She believes that the flu vaccine, which is tested on animals and produced in eggs, violates her core moral and ethical belief structure. She believes she had a right to claim a Religious Exemption. The hospital’s attorney argued that Chenzira’s vegan beliefs were no more than a dietary preference or social philosophy.

Veganism is a way of life. It is so much more than a dietary choice. I understand that the hospital would like for it to be nothing more than a preference, but it’s much more than that. It only takes befriending a staunch vegan to understand the gravity of this lifestyle.  Take a look at this vegan online store:


Vegans carefully check labels for ingredients that could even have by-products of what they consider unethical. Vegans do not consume or use anything that comes from an animal. That means no eating meat, dairy, fish, eggs, animal proteins, or animal cells. It means no animal testing. No visiting circuses. No wearing fur or leather. No horse drawn carriages.  That’s a summary, but believe me when I say, it actually entails even more than that for most vegans.

It is not merely a “social philosophy.” It is a deeply committed belief structure that dictates every aspect of their lives. It changes the kinds of soaps they will use to wash their face, but also the cleaners they will use to wash the toilet. It is a code of ethics that requires deep commitment and dedication.

This is why Chenzira could not ethically accept the flu vaccination she was ordered to get. Her refusal to betray her morals got her fired.

After she filed a lawsuit claiming religious discrimination, the hospital’s attorney asked to have it thrown out, but after Chenzira argued that her veganism constitutes a moral and ethical belief that was just as strong as any religion, U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel ruled that she can pursue her claim of religious discrimination. Judge Spiegal wrote that it’s plausible that Chenzira “could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views.”



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