A South Carolina Catholic school fired one of its teachers in May after it said she publicly supported abortion against school policy.
Now, the former Bishop England High School teacher is suing the school, WIS News 10 reports. In the lawsuit, Elizabeth Cox argues that she did not break her employment contract, and the school was wrong to fire her.
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a grave moral evil because it destroys the life of an innocent human being. Employees of Catholic organizations, especially teachers, typically sign contracts agreeing to act in accordance with this and other teachings.
Principal Patrick Finnerman said Cox acted contrary to the Catholic school’s teachings when she wrote several posts in support of abortion on her public Facebook page, according to the report. He said the same Facebook profile identified her as a teacher at their school.
In one post, Cox reportedly called abortion activist Gloria Steinem “brilliant” for complaining about abortion regulations. She quoted Steinem saying that laws should treat “every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion,” including forcing him to “walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.”
In another post, she reportedly criticized pro-lifers for not banning guns, stopping families from being separated at the border or supporting “free healthcare for all” and “cheap, prescribed birth control.”
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In a letter, the principal told Cox that her public support of abortion undermines the Catholic values that parents want their students to be taught at Bishop England.
“As you know, this is contrary to the mission of the Church and our school and is materially incompatible with your duties as a Catholic School teacher,” his letter to Cox states. “When we confronted you with the post, you admitted to it and, moreover, reacted in a manner leading us to conclude you would not do differently in the future.”
Cox argued in her lawsuit that she did not break her contract, but the local news report cited language from her contract suggesting that she did.
According to her contract:
“Teacher understands that a fundamental mission of the School is the intellectual and spiritual development of students according to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic Church. In furtherance of that mission, all teachers and administrators employed by the School, regardless of whether they are members of the Catholic Church, are by virtue of such employment actively engaged in pastoral ministry and the formation of God’s people by personal witness. Therefore, Teacher acknowledges and agrees that he or she will at all times publicly speak and act in accordance with the mission and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, as set forth in Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
Cox was fired on May 31 and her contract for the next school year was rescinded, according to the report.
Her lawsuit requests “actual and future damages, triple damages, lost wages, attorney fees and reinstatement” for wrongful termination, according to the report.