The Procreation Police

The woman in this story was fired from her job teaching at a Catholic school in Wisconsin because she told her employers she was pregnant via IVF. Apparently, this woman violated the part of her employment contract saying that a teacher had to act in accordance with Catholic doctrine. And as you can imagine, having gone through IVF myself, I have an enormous problem with this.

Yes, I understand that the Catholic church is a private organization that has the right to enforce any rules it likes for its members. And I understand that this woman probably signed her employment contract knowing this. But that doesn't make this right.

You see, the Catholic church's position on IVF is one of several reasons why I didn't tell my own family about my infertility struggles, and why after announcing my pregnancy I kept the IVF details to a minimum for most of my family members. I knew they wouldn't agree with my choices.

The bottom line is this: IVF is the creation of life. Not the destruction. IVF creates more Catholics! Sometimes two or three at a time. The Catholic church is against IVF because its viewed as morally wrong for replacing the "natural" union between husband and wife and because it doesn't protect the "dignity of procreation." Why does the church see fit to enter the bedrooms of its members? What business is it of the church to tell Catholics how and under what circumstances they can conceive their children? And my guess is that there are millions of Catholic children walking around the world right now who were conceived in the back of a car, or by accident after a drunken night of partying, or even as a result of a crime. Doesn't seem very "dignified" to me.

This woman was fired because she wanted children and couldn't conceive of them in the way most people can. If this Catholic school saw fit to fire her for not acting in accordance with Catholic doctrine, then the school leaders better go around to each and every classroom and ask the other teachers the following: Have you ever used a condom or other form of birth control? Are you divorced? Have you ever had an abortion? Missed mass on Sunday and not gone to confession? And if the answer to any of these questions is yes, then those teachers should be shown the door as well because they are in violation of the rules of the church too.

I am a Catholic. And since learning I was pregnant via IVF (if they only knew), I have returned to church because I want to renew my faith, and because I believe that this baby is, in part, the miracle I was praying for. But it is often extremely hard for me to reconcile my beliefs on a variety of topics (gay marriage, IVF, abortion, etc.) with those of my church. And I suspect there are many other Catholics with the same problem.

14 Responses to “The Procreation Police”

  1. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    Very well said, excellent post. Honestly, I don't know what I can add. I too have a problem with religions that don't acknowledge changes in modern life. Your baby is truly a miracle, and as far as I'm concerned, god gave people the brains to figure out how to help those people who couldn't get pregnant any other way. There is a whole lot of thought, hope, faith and love involved in this creation! :)  

  2. # Blogger Clare Eats

    I don't know what to say.......

    Except oh hell I don't know

    Heres a *Hug* instead  

  3. # Blogger Beagle

    I was delievered by nuns but my career as a Catholic more or less ended there. (Born in a Catholic hospital back when the nurses were nuns).

    I think it's sad that they don't update some of their ideas. How is using IVF to "create" life more wrong than say the use of antibiotics or surgery to save lives?

    It is sad that that woman lost her job after all she's been through.

    Great post!  

  4. # Blogger Shannon

    Kristi, you have every right to be angry about this. It's so wrong on so many levels. Maybe I don't have the right to comment since I don't subscribe to any organized religion, but this kind of issue is the very reason I don't subscribe to any organized religion! And you are absolutely correct that all those teachers should get the same privacy-invasion treatment, if "going against doctrine" is the administration's *real* concern here. Argh, this just makes me furious, the hypocrisy! Okay, I'll stop with the rant. :)  

  5. # Anonymous sher

    Most of my Catholic friends have the same problems, but they find great value, like you do, in going to church. And I think your pregnancy is a great blessing, a gift from God!! I'm a Unitarian--so we have very few rules. :):) In fact, once a month they have Wild Woman Night-one of those Pagan things where you dance around and beat drums under a full moon!! I've never been to one of them, but I love the look on people's faces when they learn about it. :):):)  

  6. # Blogger Caryl

    This crazy reasoning and thinking is why I converted to Judaism!  

  7. # Blogger CAL

    You wouldn't keep going to a restaurant that had nothing on the menu you liked, would you?  

  8. # Blogger Marie

    I understand your frustration Kristi.

    There are a lot of other churches out there besides the Catholic church...

    And I know that most of my relatives would be saying many Novenas if they heard me say that!  

  9. # Blogger Binulatti

    'Cause you know, "celibate" old men are *so* on the cutting edge of the uterine zeitgeist. They know what's dignified, they've probably read about stirrups in the context of some papal equestrian outing.

    It puzzles the hell out of he (ha!) why the Catholic Church fails to see the reasons behind dropping attendance, shortage of preists, basic collapse of their base. Could it be because they alienate all but the most conservative, reproductively fortunate, straight population? And hi, those numbers drop every day.

    I say fuggit. Be your own version of Catholic. If that's what you want to be.  

  10. # Blogger Kristi

    Ramona-I agree with you 100%.

    Clare-:) I'll take the hug.

    Beagle-the contradictions within most organized religions are enough to make my head spin.

    Shannon-I'm right there with you. Stuff likes this gets my blood boiling.

    Sher-My neighbors are Unitarians, and from what I know of the religion, it sounds fantastic. So accepting of all kinds of people. And that Wild Woman Night sounds awesome!


    Cal-Well, the problem is that I still feel close to the owner (He's done me some favors) and the host is pretty cool as well. Very down-to-earth and liberal. It's the food that's sometimes the problem.

    Marie-Well, I agree with you. And mine would be right there with your relatives with the Novenas if they heard me say that!

    Karrie-Exactly. Gee, I wonder why the Catholic churc is losing people in record numbers? I wonder...  

  11. # Blogger l

    ACK! Are you effin' kidding me? For a group that is so "pro-life" they sure know how to cherry pick how that life is created and whether or not it's valid. So a rape victim has the right - nay, the DUTY - to carry the child to term, but an infertile couple not so much? I think that religion should encourage you to lead a good life that you fill with love, not punish you for trying to attain it. And HI! Obviously if they weren't participating in the "natural union" between husband and wife they wouldn't have known that IVF was necessary. I'm with Shannon - organized religion can really be a turn off when there's such hypocrisy and when it works to breed condemnation and contempt. Dare I mention the scads of gay priests and the child molestors in the ranks of the church that it turns a blind eye to? Note: nuthin' wrong with being a gay priest, in my view, but I'm not Catholic and I'm just reiterating the whole cherry picking thing.

    As another aside, I can see what faith and religion can add to people's lives, and it's great that you have this. I'm glad you're able to recognize that religion can be flawed and still find the benefit in your faith. That's a healthy approach, and really, a testament to the strength of your faith.

    Ok, I'll stop pontificating now. HA HA HA  

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  14. # Anonymous Anonymous
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