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Catholic School Teacher Fired For Getting In Vitro Fertilization

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
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Several articles on this today. Here's one:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/04/catholic-school-teacher-claims-she-was-fired-for-using-ivf/1

Bullet point summary:

Married woman is teacher at Catholic school for 7 years;

She and her husband want to have another child but she has fertility problems;

She alleges she told her supervisor at the school that she was trying in vitro, that supervisor was supportive and told her that he was praying for her to get pregnant;

The higher ups at the Diocese find out about it and she is fired.

She alleges male teachers have gotten vasectomies which is apparently against Catholic doctrine and not been fired;

She sues for discrimination.

She says no embryos were destroyed in her in vitro procedures. Apparently in vitro is against Catholic doctrine either way. The Diocese referred to it as "sinful" and "evil."

There is a "ministerial" exception under the law where a religious institution can hire and fire for religious reasons and not be subject to discrimination suits. However, her attorney argues that this exception does not apply because she is not a priest and did not teach religion, taught secular subjects.

Is this just a matter of religious freedom for the school, or should she be allowed to pursue a discrimination claim, assuming for the sake of argument, that she can show that other employees were not fired for violating Catholic doctrine?

- wolf
 

corwin

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2006
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Arguably anyone working at a Catholic school has "ministerial" duties so she's probably screwed...or would that be not screwed? And arguing that somebody else did something and got away with it is a child's argument...besides which maybe nobody knew about it and now she's going to get other people fired too:(
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
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Arguably anyone working at a Catholic school has "ministerial" duties so she's probably screwed...or would that be not screwed? And arguing that somebody else did something and got away with it is a child's argument...besides which maybe nobody knew about it and now she's going to get other people fired too:(
It's not a child's argument. It's a legal argument. It's called discrimination - when you're being treated differently than others who are similarly situated. You really think it's OK if they know about male teachers having vasectomies and don't do anything about it but when a female teacher gets in vitro she gets fired?

The irony is the vasectomy will prevent life from being created, whereas the IV may create life that wouldn't have existed. "Pro life" my ass.
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,833
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Many embryos are destroyed in the process of in vitro fertilization, that's why the Church considers it wrong.

I don't understand why we suddenly want every religion to accept everything. I'm not going to get a job at a mosque and eat ham for lunch. I'm not going to convert to Judaism and open a crawfish restaurant. Religions have all kinds of restrictions, fucking get over it. Find a new religion, find a new job.
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,833
1
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It's not a child's argument. It's a legal argument. It's called discrimination - when you're being treated differently than others who are similarly situated. You really think it's OK if they know about male teachers having vasectomies and don't do anything about it but when a female teacher gets in vitro she gets fired?

The irony is the vasectomy will prevent life from being created, whereas the IV may create life that wouldn't have existed. "Pro life" my ass.
How does a vasectomy destroy embryos?
 
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corwin

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2006
8,637
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It's not a child's argument. It's a legal argument. It's called discrimination - when you're being treated differently than others who are similarly situated. You really think it's OK if they know about male teachers having vasectomies and don't do anything about it but when a female teacher gets in vitro she gets fired?

The irony is the vasectomy will prevent life from being created, whereas the IV may create life that wouldn't have existed. "Pro life" my ass.
Actually it is a childs argument, but I'll admit it could loosely fit with discrimination...that said she would have to prove that they knew about it and that it was a comparable "sin" since that's what they get to base their values off of being a religious institution...I would hazard to say the vasectomy ranks lower than IVF
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
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How does a vasectomy destroy embryos?
I didn't say a vasectomy destroyed embryos. I said something else. I said the in vitro creates a life, whereas the vasectomy may prevent a life from being created, i.e. by preventing insemination. The two procedures have exactly opposite purposes. Anyway, the point is that both are disallowed in Catholic doctrine, but only one is apparently grounds for termination - the one that affects women, apparently.
 
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DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,736
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If the school knew about the vasectomies and did nothing, it weakens their "following religious beliefs" stance since then they only follow those beliefs when they feel like it.

If they consistently applied a religion-based policy, then it would not be discrimination, just the price you pay for working for a religious institution.
 

thraashman

Lifer
Apr 10, 2000
10,907
1,056
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Many embryos are destroyed in the process of in vitro fertilization, that's why the Church considers it wrong.

I don't understand why we suddenly want every religion to accept everything. I'm not going to get a job at a mosque and eat ham for lunch. I'm not going to convert to Judaism and open a crawfish restaurant. Religions have all kinds of restrictions, fucking get over it. Find a new religion, find a new job.
But if you worked at a mosque as a non-religious employee and were seen outside of work eating a bacon sandwich, that would not be grounds to fire you. This is just another example of the church wanting to control women's bodies. It's wrong, it's discrimination, and it almost guaranteed is illegal. The Catholic church is slipping further and further into insanity lately.
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
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Many embryos are destroyed in the process of in vitro fertilization, that's why the Church considers it wrong.

I don't understand why we suddenly want every religion to accept everything. I'm not going to get a job at a mosque and eat ham for lunch. I'm not going to convert to Judaism and open a crawfish restaurant. Religions have all kinds of restrictions, fucking get over it. Find a new religion, find a new job.
She alleges no embryos were destroyed in her in vitro procedure. Assuming for the sake of argument that is true, would it matter here?
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,736
669
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But if you worked at a mosque as a non-religious employee and were seen outside of work eating a bacon sandwich, that would not be grounds to fire you. This is just another example of the church wanting to control women's bodies. It's wrong, it's discrimination, and it almost guaranteed is illegal. The Catholic church is slipping further and further into insanity lately.
If you worked at a mosque and brought delicious bacon cheeseburgers to eat in the lunch room they could fire you.

If you worked at a mosque and had a Facebook page where you worshiped Satan and posted pictures of your Koran-burning activities they could probably fire you, especially if it was mosque policy that employees must obey muslim law.

Religious institutions are able to have policies that enforce their religion. The issue here is them allegedly only applying the policy to some employees and not others, and allegedly applying the policy after saying it would not be applied.
 

thraashman

Lifer
Apr 10, 2000
10,907
1,056
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I'm considering that every time the Catholic church does something anti women in the name of their outdated and close-minded dogma, I'm gonna go destroy an embryo somewhere. Maybe I'll go to a fertility clinic, buy a bunch of embryos, and just stomp on em.
 

Fern

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 30, 2003
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-snip-
Is this just a matter of religious freedom for the school, or should she be allowed to pursue a discrimination claim, assuming for the sake of argument, that she can show that other employees were not fired for violating Catholic doctrine?

- wolf
Assuming for sake of argument that other employees were allowed to divert from policy without repercussion, she should be allowed to sue. Selective enforcement is a major no-no IMO.

Well, I'm not Catholic, but I can't think of any reason, at all, why in vitro is against their faith. Particularly given her superiors supported it.

Maybe someone can explain why the Catholic church is against it. I've never heard of that and I'm baffled (as well as curious).

Edit: Ooops. Didn't read carefully:

Many embryos are destroyed in the process of in vitro fertilization, that's why the Church considers it wrong.
Of course, there's still the question of whether it does or not, given her denial. Frankly, I don't know one way or the other.

Fern
 
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Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,495
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I think stories like this are stupid. It seems this one only exist to try and get people to hate the Catholic church. If you are a part of the church, you should follow the rules.

If this instance, however, it is more like: If you don't like the rules, disobey them, get in trouble, and then tell the first reporter you can find.
 

corwin

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2006
8,637
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Assuming for sake of argument that other employees were allowed to divert from policy without repercussion, she should be allowed to sue. Selective enforcement is a major no-no IMO.

Well, I'm not Catholic, but I can't think of any reason, at all, why in vitro is against their faith. Particularly given her superiors supported it.

Maybe someone can explain why the Catholic church is against it. I've never heard of that and I'm baffled (as well as curious).

Fern
IVF involves fertilizing multiple eggs then implanting them in the woman...once one takes the rest are destroyed.

And there are different levels of "sin", venial and mortal, IVF would fall under mortal due to fertilized embryos being destroyed (ie aborted) while I'm unsure of where vasectomies might fall
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
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I looked into the Catholic objections to in vitro and embryo destruction doesn't seem to be the reason. Embryo destruction can occur sometimes accidentally, but it is not a routine or expected aspect of the procedure. I don't think pro-lifers object to, for example, surgery on a pregnant woman's uterus to remove endemitriosis because it might accidentally kill the embryo or fetus. They object to abortion as the intentional taking of a life.

With IV, sometimes left-over embryos can be destroyed, at the option of the parents, but there the objection is to the decision to destroy the embryos, not the IV procedure itself. The embryos can be donated to other couples who are trying to get pregnant but the mother can't produce a healthy egg.

It seems the objection has to do with conception occurring not as a result of sex. Sex for procreation is a spiritual union of sorts and babies are supposed to be produced in this spiritual union, and in vitro interferes with this. The objection is more in the vein of doctors playing God, it seems. It's still weird to me because the purpose and intended result is to create a life where it otherwise would not have been possible, but then again I'll never understand the religious mind set.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vitro_fertilisation#Catholic_objections

- wolf
 
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Ktulu

Diamond Member
Dec 16, 2000
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I think stories like this are stupid. It seems this one only exist to try and get people to hate the Catholic church. If you are a part of the church, you should follow the rules.

If this instance, however, it is more like: If you don't like the rules, disobey them, get in trouble, and then tell the first reporter you can find.
This is pretty much all there is to it. If you are Catholic, you live as a Catholic. If you no longer want to follow what is taught and stop being Catholic, then just leave the church. Don't get all butt hurt when things don't go your way for disobeying what is taught by the church.
 

corwin

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2006
8,637
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I looked into the Catholic objections to in vitro and embryo destruction doesn't seem to be the reason. Embryo destruction can occur sometimes accidentally, but it is not a routine or expected aspect of the procedure. I don't think pro-lifers object to, for example, surgery on a pregnant woman's uterus to remove endemitriosis because it might accidentally kill the embryo or fetus. They object to abortion as the intential taking of a life.

With IV, sometimes left-over embryos can be destroyed, at the option of the parents, but there the objection is to the decision to destroy the embryos, not the IV procedure itself. The embryos can be donated to other couples who are trying to get pregnant but the mother can't produce a healthy egg.

It seems the objection has to do with conception occurring not as a result of sex. Sex for procreation is a spiritual union of sorts and babies are supposed to be produced in this spiritual union, and in vitro interferes with this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vitro_fertilisation#Catholic_objections

- wolf
That isn't true, artificial insemination is completely accepted by the Catholic church...it's the destruction of the left over embryos that crosses the line...
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
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IVF involves fertilizing multiple eggs then implanting them in the woman...once one takes the rest are destroyed.
That is not true. The other embryos can be donated to other couples. The destruction of the embryos is something they object to on the same grounds as they object to abortion, but the IV procedure does not necessitate that this happen.
 

woolfe9999

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2005
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That isn't true, artificial insemination is completely accepted by the Catholic church...it's the destruction of the left over embryos that crosses the line...
No, you are totally wrong. Read my link and see the citations and quotes. They DO object to artificial insemination.

And assuming you're correct for the sake of argument, then why was she fired if what she says is true - that no embryos were destroyed in her case?
 

corwin

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2006
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No, you are totally wrong. Read my link and see the citations and quotes. They DO object to artificial insemination.
Those are outdated references, their stance has changed over the years, or I could just say that it depends on your parish as some follow older rules than others...
That is not true. The other embryos can be donated to other couples. The destruction of the embryos is something they object to on the same grounds as they object to abortion, but the IV procedure does not necessitate that this happen.
You are right on that, though it's more frequent that they are destroyed than donated
 

Ktulu

Diamond Member
Dec 16, 2000
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That isn't true, artificial insemination is completely accepted by the Catholic church...it's the destruction of the left over embryos that crosses the line...
Actually wolf is correct here...

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20081208_dignitas-personae_en.html

The Church moreover holds that it is ethically unacceptable to dissociate procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act:[29] human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution. The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilization vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure – in addition to being in contradiction with the respect that is due to procreation as something that cannot be reduced to mere reproduction – leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being. Recognition of such respect is, on the other hand, promoted by the intimacy of husband and wife nourished by married love.

The Church recognizes the legitimacy of the desire for a child and understands the suffering of couples struggling with problems of fertility. Such a desire, however, should not override the dignity of every human life to the point of absolute supremacy. The desire for a child cannot justify the “production” of offspring, just as the desire not to have a child cannot justify the abandonment or destruction of a child once he or she has been conceived.
 

corwin

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2006
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Yes however as explained to me in RCIA the part that leads to their condemnation of IVF is this part:

The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilization
And of course there are those who hold on to more outdated thinking and are much more rigid than the majority of the modern church, however they are growing with the times slowly
 

thraashman

Lifer
Apr 10, 2000
10,907
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This whole argument is stupid. The Catholic church has proven time and again that the only thing they really object to is allowing a woman to control her own body and reproductive rights.
 

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