A married Catholic school teacher is suing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. She claims she was fired for undergoing IVF treatments. Her Church called her a “grave immoral sinner”.
Emily Herx (32), a teacher at the St Vincent de Paul School, Indiana, said a senior official at the school fired her after she divulged to her that she had received IVF treatment.
According to ABC, in 2010, Herx learned that she suffered from a medical condition which causes infertility. Herx and her husband, Brian, had made the decision to undergo IVF treatment.
She told her principal she would need time off from work to receive the treatments. He allegedly told her “You are in my prayers” and granted her the time off.
In May last year she went for her second round of fertility and asked for time off. Her school told her to report to Monsignor John Kuzmich, the pastor at the St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
Herx and her husband met with Kuzmich. During the meeting, Kuzmich confirmed that she was "an excellent teacher" and that "her performance had nothing to do with the decision to terminate her employment."
However, he continued to call her a “grave, immoral sinner”. He said if news that she had received these treatments got out there would be a “scandal” in the church.
The Catholic Church officially disapproves of IVF due their stance on the sanctity of embryonic life.
During these treatments, additional embryos are created to increase chances of pregnancy and are then destroyed.
After this disturbing meeting, Herx appealed to Bishop Kevin Rhoades. She assured him that no embryos were destroyed during her treatment.
According to the civil complaint filed against the Archdiocese, he said, “The process of in vitro fertilization very frequently involves the deliberate destruction or freezing of human embryos.
“In vitro fertilization...is an intrinsic evil, which means that no circumstances can justify it.”
Kathleen DeLancey, Herx’s lawyer, said her client was fired “only for trying to enlarge her family with husband.” She added that Herx was traumatized from the incident.
It is not known if Herx was able to conceive through the second IVF treatment.
Before she was fired, Herx taught literature and language arts at the school from 2003 to 2011. She received high marks during all assessments according to the federal lawsuit.
Earlier this month, Christa Dias (32) also began legal action against her diocese. She also says her Catholic school fired her for becoming pregnant by artificial insemination.
She was fired by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, in 2010, when she told them she was five-and-a-half months pregnant and needed maternity leave.
Dias says at first they tried to fire her for being pregnant and single but they realized they would be violating federal and state law. Instead they decided to say she had violated Roman Catholic Church doctrine.
US District Judge Arthur Spiegel said Dias was a non-Catholic computer teacher with no role in ministering or teaching Catholic doctrine.
An archdiocese spokesman says parents who pay to send their children to Catholic school expect them to be taught in an environment reflecting Catholic moral teaching.