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Delaware: Did You Know?

Did you know a Catholic school fired a teacher for publicly expressing her pro-choice views?

Ursuline Academy, an all-girls, Roman Catholic high school, fired teacher Michele Curay-Cramer five days after her name appeared in a pro-choice advertisement in January 2003.  More than 600 individuals signed the ad in support of abortion rights and the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. A practicing Catholic, she believes "that a woman has a right to choose."

Upon learning of Curay-Cramer's public support of a woman's right to choose, the school gave her two options: resign from her position or recant her views publicly.  Curay-Cramer refused and was promptly fired. She filed a lawsuit against the school for sex discrimination and defamation, seeking damages and reinstatement as a classroom teacher.

On November 16, 2004, the United States District Court in Delaware dismissed her claims of sex and religious discrimination. Curay-Cramer appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  On June 7, 2006, the Third Circuit upheld the District Court's ruling, dismissing all federal and state claims against Ursuline Academy.

John Shiffman, U.S. Court Hears Case of Teacher Fired Over Stance, Phila. Inquirer, Jan. 18, 2006, at B02; Sean O'Sullivan, Schoolteacher's Firing Upheld: Ursuline Had Right to Terminate Woman Who Dissented on Abortion, Court Says, The News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), June 8, 2006, at 1B; Curay-Cramer v. Ursuline Acad., 450 F.3d 130 (3rd Cir. 2006).


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