In 2010, Christa Dias asked for something millions of U.S. women ask for successfully every year: maternity leave. At five and a half months pregnant, the former computer teacher for Holy Family and St. Lawrence schools in East Price Hill approached her superiors requesting time off for the birth of her child.
Dias got far more time off than she bargained for; the Archdiocese of Cincinnati fired Dias for becoming pregnant through means of artificial insemination, an act considered "gravely immoral" by the Catholic Church. Her dismissal, though, has become national news as the Catholic Church's penchant for interfering with their employees' personal lives — particularly when it comes to women — becomes an increasingly hot-button issue.
U.S. District Court Judge S. Arthur Spiegel last week gave Dias the go-ahead to proceed with her lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. If Dias is successful, she could set a national precedent.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Dias seeks reparations for medical bills and other expenses after she was fired. It's not clear how much Dias will seek in damages.
Dias, who taught computer courses, never was called upon to teach Catholic doctrine, nor was she the only non-Catholic to be employed by the Archdiocese. In its rebuttal to Dias' accusations, the Archdiocese claims her employment at a Catholic school entitled them to a "ministerial exception" to federal anti-discrimination laws, which gave them the right to fire her on the basis that parents who pay to send their children to Catholic schools expect them to be taught in environments upholding the utmost Catholic moral integrity.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church includes this on their writings regarding birth and artificial insemination: "Techniques that entail the dissociation
of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple
(donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral.
These techniques (artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe
the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and
bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' right to
become a father and a mother only through each other."