A Catholic school is accused of firing an unmarried teacher after she got pregnant and then refused to have an abortion.
Michelle Bolen was fired from St Therese Catholic School in Kansas City, Missouri, where she taught for 15 years. According to a lawsuit filed by Michelle Bolen’s lawyers, a priest at the school suggested she should have had an abortion.
Bolen’s lawyers allege that a priest at St Therese Catholic School in Kansas City, Missouri, praised Bolen for refusing to terminate the pregnancy. But Father Joseph Cisetti is then said to have suggested to Bolen that had she gone against Catholic teaching and had an abortion, the school would not have had to deal with the “scandal” of an unmarried pregnant teacher.
He is also said to have added: “Pregnancy is not the problem. Fornication is.”
Bolen’s attorney EE Keenan told the Kansas City-Star: “He’s basically speaking out of both sides of his mouth.”
Keenan says the teacher’s dismissal is a violation of the 1986 Missouri Abortion Act, which protects women from being fired for refusing to have an abortion.
But lawyers for the Diocese of St Therese highlight Bolen’s employment contract. It states that “In carrying out these solemn responsibilities as a teacher, I will conduct myself in a manner that does not contradict her doctrinal and moral teachings (of the Catholic Church).”
Jurors are set to decide whether Bolen was unfairly dismissed from her role later this month.