Jury in Fertilization Lawsuit Finds Discrimination
Jury in fertilization lawsuit finds Indiana diocese discriminated against fired teacher
A federal jury ruled Friday that a northern Indiana Roman Catholic diocese discriminated against a former teacher in one of its schools by firing her after church officials learned she was trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization.
The group of five women and seven men announced its decision in favor of Emily Herx late Friday afternoon after beginning deliberations about 10:30 a.m., finding she was the victim of discrimination when the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend declined to renew her contract at St. Vincent de Paul School in 2011. Her attorneys had argued that male teachers accused of violating the moral teachings of the church had been allowed to keep their jobs.
The jury awarded Herx $1.75 million for emotional and physical damages, $125,000 for medical expenses, $75,000 for lost wages and $1 in punitive damages, WANE-TV reported.
The diocese had contended Herx violated the terms of her contract and plans to file an appeal of the decision, according to the station. The diocese argued that, according to church teachings, in vitro fertilization is gravely evil, no circumstance can justify it, and those beliefs apply to men and women who participate in the procedure.
The ruling will certainly be appealed by the diocese.