ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

In-Vitro-Fertilization as Breach of Employment Contract

Kelly Romensko had served as a French teacher at a Catholic school for nearly 5 years when she informed the school’s principal that she needed a few days off to complete an IVF procedure. The principal told her to meet with her pastor to discuss Catholic doctrine and teaching on IVF. Why? Paragraph 16 of Ms. Romenesko’s employment contract with the school provided:

Both parties will teach and act in accordance with Catholic doctrine and Catholic moral and social teachings.

Ms. Romenesko found out that there is an official Catholic paper, authored in 1987 by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, which takes the position that IVF is a morally illicit procedure.  She went through with her IVF procedure anyway, and gave birth to two lovely twin girls. However, the school fired her for breach of her employment agreement. She appealed to the school’s Board of Trustees, but it determined (here and here) that she was in breach of Paragraph 16 of the employment agreement. Apparently, another administrative appeal is pending.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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