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National Groups Back Indiana Teacher Who Was Fired For In Vitro Pregnancy

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CBS) — Two national groups have thrown their support behind a former teacher at a Catholic school in Indiana, who claims she was fired for trying to get pregnant.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Civil Liberties Union filed friends of the court briefs Monday supporting Emily Herx.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

Herx sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in federal court in Fort Wayne this past April, claiming she was discriminated against for a disability when her teaching contract wasn’t renewed. Herx suffers from infertility, which is protected under federal law.

Herx had been a language arts teacher at St. Vincent DePaul School in Fort Wayne, according to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.

She underwent in vitro fertilization, which is banned under Roman Catholic doctrine. When news of Herx’s treatment came to light, diocesan officials decided not to renew her contract.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission ruled in her favor in January.

Defense attorneys want Herx’s complaint thrown out, on the grounds that the diocese is a religious employer and has the right to make hiring decisions based on its beliefs, the Journal-Gazette reports. If the case proceeds, attorneys argue, it could lead to “government entanglement” into Catholic doctrine, the newspaper reported.

Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades last summer called in vitro fertilization an “intrinsic evil” that is never acceptable, the newspaper reported.

But Herx’s attorneys say their client is not alleging religious discrimination – as her religious views were not the issue – but disability discrimination. They say the Americans with Disabilities Act has some exemptions for religion, but they do not apply in Herx’s case, the Journal-Gazette reported.