Emily Herx, a former teacher in a Catholic elementary school in Ft. Wayne, Indiana has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend violated her civil rights when St. Vincent de Paul school fired her for undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments. The EEOC has already issued Herx a right-to-sue letter. According to yesterday's Ft. Wayne News Sentinel the lawsuit alleges that the priest who headed St. Vincent de Paul church told Herx that she was a "grave, immoral sinner" and that it would cause a "scandal" if anyone found out. IVF violates Catholic teachings because excess embryos are often disposed of or frozen. In a statement after the lawsuit was filed, the diocese said:
The Diocese has clear policies requiring that teachers in its schools must, as a condition of employment, have a knowledge of and respect for the Catholic faith, and abide by the tenets of the Catholic Church as those tenets apply to that person. The Diocese requires that its teachers serve as moral exemplars. Those requirements, and others, are expressly incorporated into Diocesan teacher contracts.It also said:
the Diocese views the core issue raised in this lawsuit as a challenge to the Diocese’s right, as a religious employer, to make religious based decisions consistent with its religious standards on an impartial basis.