Teacher's case against diocese headed to trial Rebecca S. Green | The Journal Gazette

With a ruling from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday afternoon, a case stemming from the use of in vitro fertilization by a local Roman Catholic schoolteacher will head to trial later this month.

The federal court of appeals in Chicago ruled the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese did not meet the high bar to be spared the risks inherent with going to trial.

The move lets stand an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. in September. He ruled the diocese might have discriminated against a former language arts teacher when it did not renew her contract after she underwent in vitro fertilization.


How did the school know the teacher used IVF? Because she talked about it? Catholic school teachers opposing the Faith is not something the Church can regulate?

The diocesan teacher employment application says:
*]Models and teaches Catholic values and morals.
*]Teachers “must have a knowledge of, and a respect for, the Catholic faith and a commitment to Christian living. It is highly recommended that whenever possible, a Catholic in good standing, endowed with a Catholic philosophy, be hired to work in a Catholic school.” (P3035) To clarify and develop this role, all teachers participate in Religious Education in-service days during the school year.
So, could someone who used IVF assent to this? How about someone who sues the Church?

Of course the diocese discriminated against the teacher, in that it did not hire her because her public actions went against Church teaching. The Church should discriminate on that basis.

The jury has returned a verdict against our diocese for $1.95 million after a four day trial. The diocese says it will appeal.


The story got a lot of coverage here and I am trying to find the individual links for each day. The jury seems to have decided the case on emotion, but there were a lot of mistakes made by various people, especially the school principal, who did not tell Emily Herx that in-vitro fertilization was a serious violation of her contract for the first two treatments. It was only on third try that the matter was reported to the pastor and the teacher’s contract was not renewed.

Another serious mistake is that the diocese actually paid for the first two treatments even though the procedure was specifically not covered under the policy. The diocese is self-insured, but uses an outside plan administrator who approved the payments. The teacher could then claim she did not know it was wrong since the first two procedures were paid for by the diocese.

Mrs Herx then took the position that she had a right to use in-vitro fertilization, continue to teach in a Catholic school, and have it paid for by the diocese. They jury awarded her almost everything she asked for, including a sizable award for mental anguish.

The bishop also didn’t know that part of the IVF process was paid for by the diocesan health insurance plan, in spite of its exclusion from the policy.


You know that there are many people who might not know that IVF is against Church teachings. This seems to be the case.

I think that schools have a right to have these contracts but I wish that they wouldn’t. It seems to me that a gossipy colleague or even a parent or student could complain. I could see how someone would go running to the administration on this because a teacher gave precious little Jimmy a B.

I agree, and I think this is the essence of the problem. What the Church believes about marriage and human nature starts early in Genesis, but it is so counter-cultural that it is not taught even in Catholic schools and churches. The Church is against contraception, abortion, adultery, fornication, divorce, IVF, sodomy, masturbation, and other perversions because it is first FOR God’s plan for us from the way we were created. That plan is revealed in nature and confirmed in divine revelation.

We live in a culture of death where so many people have decided that they can be like God, and decide for themselves what is right and wrong. I doubt even 20% of devout Catholics could identify Saint Augustine’s three goods of marriage, even with 1600 years to learn them. For those outside that group, the number would be very, very small. Worse still, they don’t care.

This is sad news. I really find it hard to believe she did not know she was doing something wrong.

Yes. I can believe that she didn’t because her treatments were being covered by the medical policy and the principal was fully behind her. She didn’t get fired until the third treatment.

What likely happened is that Mrs.Green went to her supervisor and requested time off for the IVF treatments The supervisor was excited for her to have a second baby and requested she keep her informed. Mrs. Green’s fellow teachers, mainly laywomen, were also excited about the prospects. However, either one of the teachers disliked Mrs. Green or more likely a parent volunteer. I hypothesize that a stay at home mom volunteer heard that Mrs. Green was getting fertility treatments. Either she is the local snitch who tattled to bishop (and is also the woman who reminded the teacher about homework) or more likely Jimmy got a B in Mrs. Green’s class, which is unacceptable to Mrs. Smith. Jimmy is the smartest little boy alive and deserved an A. As a result, Mrs. Smith told the dioceses about the treatments.

Please… I’ve lived with the Catholic Church for 32 years and am cynical enough to know how these things work. There are lots of petty grudges and retaliations among Catholic schools and parishes.

Sadly, the scandal here is NOT that someone “tattled” but that all the said teacher’s colleagues and boss (principal) thought nothing of her publicly flouting and disregarding catholic teaching.

Catholic schools run on such a basis are worse than public schools and should be closed. They teach children that Catholicism is a farce that can be worked around rather than a relationship with Christ in which we worship and obey Him. Such places have the effect of inoculating children against faith rather than instilling it in them.

In fairness, this is only one example I have to go on at this particular school, but schools LIKE I describe above exist all over the place and are a serious drag on evangelization.

Yup. The Catholic School I went to probably did more to damage the faith of the students than going to the public school. The teachers were positively clueless in regards to Catholic teaching and theology to the extent the students thought the Church was, as you put it, a farce.

Miracles do happen, however, Now we have a Priest who gives much better oversight, and the school is now solid.

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