US jury sides with sacked IVF teacher

US jury sides with sacked IVF teacher

A Ft Wayne jury has awarded a former Catholic school teacher $1.9 million after she was fired for the ‘grave sin’ undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Emily Herx, above, a language arts teacher at St Vincent de Paul Catholic School, was notified by the Ft Wayne Diocese that her contract for the 2011-12 school year would not be renewed because of her use of the method.

In vitro fertilization – or IVF – is a procedure that involves combining egg and sperm in a laboratory dish before transferring the resulting embryo into the womb.

According to Herx and her attorney, the loss of her job violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex and pregnancy-related medical conditions.

The diocese stated Herx violated the terms of her contract containing a morals clause promising to uphold Catholic teachings. During the trial, attorneys for  the diocese argued that, according to Church teachings, in vitro is gravely evil, an intrinsic evil, and  under no circumstance can it be justified.

Herx had previously informed the principal at St Vincent de Paul  that she had undergone the procedure in the past.  But when she notified school administrators of her third in vitro fertilization cycle in February 2011, it came to the attention of parish priest Rev John Kuzmich who demanded she be terminated, calling her:

A grave immoral sinner.

During the trial, priests and the local bishop testified that they wanted Herx to show remorse or regret for making the decision she made, but she refused to do so.

The jury decided in Herx’s favor, deliberating only five-and-a-half hours before awarding her $1.75 million for emotional and physical damages, $125,000 for medical expenses, $75,000 for lost wages – but just $1.00 in punitive damages.

Herx’s previous salary at the school was approximately $28,000 per year.

A tearful Herx addressed the media on the courthouse steps saying:

I was so happy. It was unreal.

The diocese intends to appeal the jury’s verdict to the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeal, with attorney  John Theisen stating the case remains an issue of religious freedom, and that exemptions in civil rights laws for religious employers should have protected the diocese from the unfavourable verdict. He said:

It never should have brought the case to trial.

The four-day jury trial before US District Judge Robert Miller Jr took place in the expansive federal courthouse just a few blocks from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the center of the diocese, according to this report, which added that:

Throughout the trial, Herz heard herself characterized by the defense as a potential drug abuser, an emotional basket case and as someone who committed a sin so grave and immoral that no circumstances could justify it.

For Herx, her decision to continue the IVF treatment abhorred by the church was her last and safest chance to become pregnant with another child.

For the diocese, the matter had nothing to do with her attempt to become pregnant but with her choice of method. As part of her contract, Herx had signed a morals clause, promising to uphold Catholic teaching. When she did not do so, diocesan officials had no choice but to remove her from their teaching roster.

Repeatedly, the priests and bishop spoke on the stand of having wanted to see her show remorse or regret for making the decision she made.

Herx never did.


Under cross-examination, Bishop Kevin C Rhoades, above, testified that the diocese had net assets of about $30-million but said a victory for Herx in the lawsuit could affect parts of its operation.

20 responses to “US jury sides with sacked IVF teacher”

  1. Brummie says:

    Prat in the Hat Rhoades.
    I hope the victory for Emily SERIOUSLY affects significant parts of his operation.

  2. Laura Roberts says:

    What an asshole. It’s one thing to say “our (barbaric and outdated) church doesn’t approve of IVF” and another to call it intrinsically “evil”.

    Their mental contortions are unbelievable. Let’s see: people aren’t supposed to have sex unless it’s for procreation. Women must carry every pregnancy to full term even if they die in the process. Yet a woman who gets pregnant with the intent of carrying it to term is “evil” because …she didn’t have sex to do it??

  3. barriejohn says:

    Oh no, not another “grave sin”!

  4. L.Long says:

    The RCC logic…..
    IVF is evil because the procedure is for a woman to have a child she can love.
    Pedophile priests are good because they surrendered to the temptations of evil little boys.

  5. Angela_K says:

    “…net assets of about $30-million but said a victory for Herx in the lawsuit could affect parts of its operation”.

    Rhoades is worried that he’ll have less money to hire expensive Lawyers to protect the pedophile Priests.

  6. Broga says:

    Paedophilia is endemic in the RC church and paedophile priests are treated with care and protectively. A decent woman is traduced, sacked and held up as the epitome of evil. If evil exists they could do worse than have a close look at that man with the smirk and the funny hat.

  7. AgentCormac says:

    Silly men with silly ideas and silly laws. Not to mention silly hats. How anybody still takes this bunch of idiot seriously is beyond me.

  8. Newspaniard says:

    IVF should be connected to witchcraft. Stake burning anyone? It seems like decades since we had the last one.

  9. Vanity Unfair says:

    When I read this my first thought was that there must be some over-simplification of the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on IVF so I looked at for an easy-to-understand introduction. You might like to see it and the conversation it inspired.
    Anyway, it rang a few bells from one of my previous jobs so I looked up a few statistics that I half-remembered and submitted them for consideration. The moderator has held up publication (I believe in the Editor’s right- or even, duty- to edit, so I’m not worried about that) and it must be pretty early in the USA. The reply I sent would be appropriate here so I’m sending it herewith.

    ” Most of the embryos conceived—which the Church holds should be respected new human lives—die, are frozen indefinitely for later implantation, are used for research, or are discarded.”
    This is, presumably, morally worse than the natural state of affairs ordained by your deity. For obvious reasons precise statistics are impossible to compile but the following will give some impression of the sanctity in which your deity holds human procreation and the perfection of the design. It might also give 1manofreason1 an idea of who actually “kills thousands of unborn children.”
    In nature, 50 percent of all fertilized eggs are lost before a woman’s missed menses.
    Early pregnancy loss accounts for over 50,000 admissions in the UK annually.[1]
    Miscarriage occurs in 15-20% of recognised pregnancies.
    85% of spontaneous miscarriages occur in the first trimester.
    About 20 to 30% of women with confirmed pregnancies bleed during the first 20 wk of pregnancy; half of these women spontaneously abort. Thus, incidence of spontaneous abortion is about 10 to 15% in confirmed pregnancies. Incidence in all pregnancies is probably higher because some very early abortions are mistaken for a late menstrual period.
    Stillbirth is more common than many people think. There are around 4,000 stillbirths every year in the UK and 1 in every 200 births ends in a stillbirth.
     Stillbirth occurs in about 1 in 160 pregnancies. The majority of stillbirths happen before labor, whereas a small percentage occurs during labor and delivery.

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    The religious insist on religious exemptions from secular law in the realm of education until it suits them to insist on adherence to secular law in religious education.

    It’s not that the religious tell lies or are hypocrites. It’s that their lies are so tedious and their hypocrisy is so profitless. That’s what is so worthy of mockery and contempt. Able to make up any fantastic world they wish they opt for the echoes of fairy tales from illiterate goat herders from thousands of years ago.

    Nothing against heading goats, mind you.

  11. Caute says:

    One day there will be a device that can be strapped to the head of a subject to reveal the thoughts, the ideas and fantasies going on within. Wouldn’t that be both fascinating and deeply disturbing. Fascinating when applied an intellect of some note, say Hawking. But what horrors and abominations would be revealed when looking into the squalid depths of the mind of a zealot like Bishop Kevin C Rhoades. Then consider what would be revealed when looking into the mind of a jihadist, say one who had recently applied the knife to the throat of an innocent hostage. What filth would be found lurking there. The human mind is a plastic and impressionable thing…dangerous even….and it can be twisted and defiled to such an extent that it accepts with absolute conviction the most fantastic confected confabulated myths and will happily rationalise the most obscene violent abhorrent acts of barbarism. Religion…terrible…an abomination… a stain on humanity.

  12. Broga says:

    @Vanity Unfair: Fascinating. Looks like Big Daddy upstairs is messing up big time. The RCs need to do something to sort Him out.

  13. Vanity Unfair says:

    Well, I made the cut on Catholic World Report. I shall take a look later to see whether there is any reaction.

    “The four-day jury trial before US District Judge Robert Miller Jr took place in the expansive federal courthouse just a few blocks from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the center of the diocese…” So that was perfectly natural, then.

  14. AgentCormac says:

    @ Caute

    I think your device would reveal the likes of Rhoades to be scheming, conniving, manipulative, controlling shysters, while those who follow them would be shown to be completely devoid of thought. How, otherwise, could the latter be so easily and readily duped by the former?

  15. Paul Cook says:

    It says everything about religion the Rcc and what the rcc stand for – this report states so simply but so very clearly that what this lady did was evil.


    The word turns itself back onto the very foundation of the rcc – one word suffices —– evil.

  16. Caute says:

    @Agent Cormac

    Because they have been inculcated and indoctrinated since childhood … they are in awe of the priesthood and all their pomp and ceremony… they believe they are securing eternal life in the hereafter… and here is the really nasty thing about the rcc…the priest knows all your guilty secrets because you have told him…therefore the priest has enormous power ..power to blackmail…power to destroy a career…to wreck a reputation……So if you stray from the path of righteousness be afraid …very afraid … of the repercussions as the priest lays to waste your standing in the community. I know someone who suffered this way. The priestly campaign was insidious, calculated and the root cause of mental breakdown and a wrecked life. Such care ..such love ..such charity.

  17. AgentCormac says:

    @ Caute

    Completely agree – these people have been put in an emotional trap, caught between the promise of a paradise that doesn’t exist and the threat of eternal torment which is equally fantastical. And as you rightly say, having confided in and handed over all their innermost secrets to representatives of an organisation which, if it wasn’t a religion would have been shut down decades ago, they are now captives of their religion and the people who run it.

  18. Robster says:

    Gotta love the funny hat! These people are jokers and as for respect? No thanks. If the diocese needs some cash, that sparkly stick the whatever he is, is holding in the image would pick up a motza on eBay. That rug thingy he’s draped in would look good in the lounge as a mat or tapestry, be bugger to keep clean, being cream coloured though. The RCC needs to start thinking as a business before they cry “poor”, there’s lots of assets they could flog, even meet that pope Frank for a fee, extra for a home visit of course. Think people, there’s a billion catholics to fleece.

  19. 1859 says:

    It is not the business of the RCC or any religion to tell men and women what to do with their bodies – especially when it’s to do with sex. What insight do a bunch of supposedly celibate old men have about sexuality that the rest of us don’t have? It’s totally ludicrous. Think about it – a Bronze Age superstition is telling this woman how she should conceive a child. Fucking stupid. The damages awarded should have been $50 million – $30 to close down the church and the extra $20 to be paid behind bars!

  20. […] we we carried a report yesterday about the ‘grave sin’ of in vitro fertilisation, we were blissfully unaware of the fact that the Catholic Church has a ‘clinic’ in […]