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Woman Trying IVF Treatments Called 'Grave Immoral Sinner' and Fired

Posted by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 1:19 AM
  • 56 Replies


Teacher Fired After Receiving Fertility Treatments

Catholic school teacher in Indiana is suing a diocese there, claiming that she was unlawfully terminated after school officials learned she was undergoing fertility treatments to become pregnant.

In a federal lawsuit filed in a Fort Wayne, Ind., teacher Emily Herxclaimed that she was fired and told by a senior church official that her attempt to become pregnant through in-vitro fertilization made her a "grave, immoral sinner."

Between 2003 and 2011, Herx, who taught literature and language arts at the St. Vincent de Paul School, was well regarded, receiving high marks when evaluated by administrators, according to court documents.

In 2010, Herx, who is married, learned that she "suffers from a diagnosed medical condition which causes infertility" and told the school's principal she would be undergoing IVF treatments, according to court documents.

At the time, the principal told Herx "You are in my prayers," and allowed her to take time off to receive treatments, according to court documents.

One year later in May 2011, after requesting time off for a second round of fertility treatments, she was told to report to Msgr. John Kuzmich, the pastor of the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

At that meeting, attended by Herx, her husband and father, Kuzmich called her a "grave, immoral sinner" and added that if news of her IVF treatments got out it would cause a "scandal" for the church, according to her civil complaint.

Kuzmich allegedly said the church disproved of fertility treatments because they require the creation of additional embryos that are ultimately destroyed, a violation of Catholic teachings regarding the sanctity of embryonic life.

According to her civil complaint, Herx explained that no embryos were destroyed during her treatment, but diocesan officials were not swayed.

Herx made a final appeal to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, but he too refused to reinstate her, the suit alleges.

Rhoades told Herx, "The process of in vitro fertilization very frequently involves the deliberate destruction or freezing of human embryos," adding, "In vitro fertilization ... is an intrinsic evil, which means that no circumstances can justify it," according to the civil complaint.

Herx filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and won, opening the door to a civil lawsuit, according to her lawyer Kathleen DeLaney.

Herx was "terminated only for trying to enlarge her family with husband," DeLaney said, calling her firing a "traumatic event" for the teacher.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the religious institutions are exempt from discrimination laws in hiring clergymen. A Catholic church for instance cannot be sued for failing to hire women priests because it conflicts with fundamental Church doctrine.

DeLaney told ABC News, that she does not believe the court's decision applies to Herx.

"The facts in this case are distinguishable. There is no ministerial exception. Ms. Herx didn't have religious training, did not teach religious doctrine," she said.

DeLaney would not confirm whether Herx has since become pregnant.

A spokesman for the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese said he was unable to comment on a pending lawsuit.

"It's sad day for our diocese and the St. Vincent's family. We're asking for prayers for our diocese and the Herx family," spokesman Sean McBride told ABC News.


LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. 

by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 1:19 AM
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Replies (1-10):
GotSomeKids
by Silver Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 1:40 AM
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Interesting and sad case.  I hope she finds herself a better job, without such judgemental bosses.

Ziva65
by Gold Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 2:11 AM
1 mom liked this

Sad. 1. It's a known fact that Catholics do not approve of IVF, not right or wrong, just a fact. As such, I'd expect this sort of reaction. Similar to any group that has beliefs about something, if you are associated with the group, the expectation to abide by that goes hand in hand.

2. With any such treatment or procedure to a boss... I'd suggest not being so specific for a multitude of reasons...  a simple "medical treatments" or something along those lines is better IMO. (Not specific to the Catholic school necessarily, it's just too close to home, to a job, creates vulnerability, has leave implications, not to mention the emotional ups and downs..."are you pregnant yet?"... etc. )

JMO. At this point, she doesn't need that level of stress, just better to leave.

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Apr. 26, 2012 at 3:04 AM
6 moms liked this

so... wait.

The RCC doesn't want unmarried women to get pregnant...(even if they are going to get married before baby is born)

they don't like BC (which we all know about now, huh?)

and now that a married woman wants to get pregnant with her husband and not take the evil BC... she is still evil nasty person?

You can't win for losing with that group, can you?

GotSomeKids
by Silver Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 3:40 AM

Well, I don't know a lot of Catholics, so I didn't know that.  She told her boss the year before she was doing this.  Why wait until the second round to fire her?

Quoting Ziva65:

Sad. 1. It's a known fact that Catholics do not approve of IVF, not right or wrong, just a fact. As such, I'd expect this sort of reaction. Similar to any group that has beliefs about something, if you are associated with the group, the expectation to abide by that goes hand in hand.

2. With any such treatment or procedure to a boss... I'd suggest not being so specific for a multitude of reasons...  a simple "medical treatments" or something along those lines is better IMO. (Not specific to the Catholic school necessarily, it's just too close to home, to a job, creates vulnerability, has leave implications, not to mention the emotional ups and downs..."are you pregnant yet?"... etc. )

JMO. At this point, she doesn't need that level of stress, just better to leave.


momtoscott
by Platinum Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 7:04 AM

 It seems from the story that her immediate boss was okay with it, then his boss got involved.  Jerks.   

I personally know Catholic doctors who advocate and perform IVF.  However, the decision about what to do with the embryos, which are often frozen for future attempts, is one that is becoming more worrisome to many. 

Lissa0985
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 7:15 AM
2 moms liked this

Wasn't Jesus the 1st "IVF" baby?

(My bad ... Just teasing things up a bit)

mmtosam06
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 7:25 AM
Wow
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
jllcali
by Jane on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:19 AM
1 mom liked this
I don't understand why she told them she was having fertility treatments. It is none of their business.

It sucks she got fired for that, but depending on the wording of the contract, she might be SOL.
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DixieDarlin76
by Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:25 AM
3 moms liked this

From what I understand from the interview her attorney did this morning, the first round was simple fertility treatments, not in-vitro, which the Church is ok with.  What caused them to fire her was when she decided to do in-vitro.  She could not prove to them that no embryos would be destroyed etc and that is what they have a problem with.  That is why she was fired.  Not for fertility treatments but because of using in-vitro.  And as much as I disagree with it, I agree with the school being able to fire her for that reason.  It is a private religious school, and if it's anything like any other religious school that I know of, she had to sign a morality clause and who knows what else.  If their policy states that she can't do something and she does it anyway and they fire her, well the only one she can blame is herself.  All she had to do to keep her job was NOT tell them she had started in-vitro. 

Quoting GotSomeKids:

Well, I don't know a lot of Catholics, so I didn't know that.  She told her boss the year before she was doing this.  Why wait until the second round to fire her?

Quoting Ziva65:

Sad. 1. It's a known fact that Catholics do not approve of IVF, not right or wrong, just a fact. As such, I'd expect this sort of reaction. Similar to any group that has beliefs about something, if you are associated with the group, the expectation to abide by that goes hand in hand.

2. With any such treatment or procedure to a boss... I'd suggest not being so specific for a multitude of reasons...  a simple "medical treatments" or something along those lines is better IMO. (Not specific to the Catholic school necessarily, it's just too close to home, to a job, creates vulnerability, has leave implications, not to mention the emotional ups and downs..."are you pregnant yet?"... etc. )

JMO. At this point, she doesn't need that level of stress, just better to leave.



I am proud to be from the South - where tea is sweet and accents are sweeter; summer starts in April; front porches are wide and words are long; mac and cheese is a vegetable; pecan pie is a staple; Y’all is the only proper pronoun; chicken is fried and biscuits come w/ gravy; everything is darling and someone is always getting their heart blessed. Have a good day y'all!


Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:27 AM

I'll be interested to see how this turns out.

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