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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Circuit Rejects Religious Claim Of Childless Couple

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The 9th Circuit upheld a deportation order of an immigrant couple who argued that they could not gain legal status by having a child because they are not able to conceive naturally and their Catholic religion opposes in vitro fertilization.

Peter Fernandez and Martha Katigbak claimed they lacked the relative required to qualify for removal cancellation in part because their Catholicism opposes in vitro fertilization.

The court found that the requirements do not violate petitioners' religious rights because they failed to show that their beliefs are the sole reason they do not have a child. The circuit noted that adopted children are qualifying relatives under the law.

Petitioners have no reason to expect that a child born through in vitro fertilization would have the serious health or learning issues generally required to merit removal relief, the court said.

"No sensible person would abandon his religious precepts to have a child in the hope that the child would be so very ill or learning disabled as to come within the small number of children as to whom 'exceptional and extremely unusual hardship' can be shown," the judges concluded. See ruling.

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