Gender selection, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, egg donation, and MicroSort are a few of the most controversial topics related to fertility treatments. But Emily Herx never thought her attempt to have children with her husband through IVF would result in controversy with her employer.
"I didn't think I was doing anything wrong," is the direct statement Herx made to CNN.
Emily Herx, former school teacher at a Catholic school in Indiana, has filed a lawsuit against the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Emily taught at St. Vincent de Paul school until 2011 when she was allegedly fired for undergoing IVF. Herx underwent In Vitro Fertilization for the first time in March of 2010, and says she immediately informed the school's principal of her treatment.
Herx says of that conversation that the principal said to her, "You are in my prayers," and that to Emily indicated support.
Apparently support was the last thing she should have expected.
When Herx asked for time off to undergo a second cycle of IVF over a year later, she was informed by the school's pastor that she should have remained silent about her treatments and that her full disclosure could lead to a scandal.
It was just eleven days later that Herx received a notice from the school telling her that her contract would not be renewed due to "improprieties related to church teachings or law."
The official statement from the diocese reads that "the church promotes treatment of infertility through means that respect the right to life, the unity of marriage, and procreation brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act. There are other infertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization, which are not morally licit according to Catholic teaching."
As a teacher working in the diocese, Emily Herx was obligated to "have a knowledge and respect for the Catholic faith, and abide by the tenets of the Catholic Church."
Herx had been employed at St. Vincent de Paul since 2003, but she never taught religion nor ever held a title within the Catholic church.
The fact that Herx taught only English could be helpful to her case of what seems to be discrimination.
Those who teach religion at religious institutions can technically be considered ministers, and according to the so-called ministerial exception, ministers can actually be fired based on the doctrines of the church.
Senior litigation counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Gregory Lipper, points out that labeling an English teacher as a minister at a religious institution clearly outlines "Exhibit A of what goes wrong if the exception becomes too broad."
Image courtesy of cnn.com
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