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Source: ABC News, Published April 27 2012

Hot topics: Teacher sues after being fired for IVF treatment

A Catholic school teacher in Indiana is suing a diocese there, claiming that she was unlawfully terminated after school officials learned she was undergoing fertility treatments to become pregnant.

In a federal lawsuit filed in a Fort Wayne, Ind., teacher Emily Herx claimed that she was fired and told by a senior church official that her attempt to become pregnant through in-vitro fertilization made her a “grave, immoral sinner.”

Between 2003 and 2011, Herx, who taught literature and language arts at the St. Vincent de Paul School, was well regarded, receiving high marks when evaluated by administrators, according to court documents.

In 2010, Herx, who is married, learned that she “suffers from a diagnosed medical condition which causes infertility” and told the school’s principal she would be undergoing IVF treatments, according to court documents.

At the time, the principal told Herx “You are in my prayers,” and allowed her to take time off to receive treatments, according to court documents.

One year later in May 2011, after requesting time off for a second round of fertility treatments, she was told to report to Msgr. John Kuzmich, the pastor of the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

At that meeting, attended by Herx, her husband and father, Kuzmich called her a “grave, immoral sinner” and added that if news of her IVF treatments got out it would cause a “scandal” for the church, according to her civil complaint.

According to her civil complaint, Herx explained that no embryos were destroyed during her treatment, but diocesan officials were not swayed.

Herx made a final appeal to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, but he too refused to reinstate her, the suit alleges.

Rhoades told Herx, “The process of in vitro fertilization very frequently involves the deliberate destruction or freezing of human embryos,” adding, “In vitro fertilization ... is an intrinsic evil, which means that no circumstances can justify it,” according to the civil complaint.