by Hilary White

APPLETON, Wis. May 9, 2006 ( – A Wisconsin woman has been fired from her teaching position by a Catholic elementary school because she underwent in vitro fertilisation treatments in order to obtain her two daughters. Kelly Romenesko told the news outlet that she had no idea that the Church was against in vitro even though she is a life-long Catholic and was told that if she underwent IVF it would violate her contract stipulation that teachers must adhere to Catholic principles.

ÂRomenesko’s teaching contract stipulated that she uphold and act and teach in accordance with Catholic doctrine.

Catholic pro-life activists have long complained that the greatest obstacle to their fight is the Church itself whose pastors rarely speak from the pulpit even about abortion and contraception. The Church’s prohibitions against artificial procreation are among its least known teachings.

“I kind of thought that (the contract terms) meant to follow the Ten Commandments, that kind of thing,” Romenesko, 37, said.

The Catholic prohibition against artificially assisted procreation extrapolates naturally from previous teaching, but was spelled out in 1986 in the landmark document, “Donum Vitae” or “The Gift of Life.” In it, then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that in vitro fertilisation “Entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person.”

The Catholic Church teaches that, even if the procedure did not, as it invariably does, involve the death of many children created in the lab, it would violate the natural and moral law by making the child into a commodity that can be treated as property.

Canadian law regards unwanted embryos left over from IVF procedures as suitable “material” for medical experimentation.

Romenesko’s principal informed her that undergoing IVF would violate the terms of her contract and when she went ahead the ACES/Xavier school system fired her.

“I was astounded. I was shocked. I was crying. I couldn’t believe it, and I said, ‘Is this the only reason I am being fired’, and they said yes.”

The law in Wisconsin recognizes that a fundamental reason for establishing Catholic parochial schools is to promote and cultivate specific religious beliefs and so the ACES/Xavier system is not open to a lawsuit.

Romenesko filed a complaint with the state Department of Workforce Development saying she was fired because she became pregnant, but an investigator found no probable cause that ACES broke the law.


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