Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Doctors Discriminate

Here's a case I've haven't been following as closely as I should. I guess it's slipped under the radar with all the jubilation over the marriage equality in California. But it could have a major impact on GLBT people in California...

(Photo courtesy Eduardo Contreras -- San Diego Union-tribune)

Today in The Washington Post, read about California resident Guadalupe Benítez, who was denied fertility treatments by her doctors because she is lesbian. She has taken her case all the way to the California Supreme Court. After the recent landmark ruling on marriage equality, it will be interesting to see how the court rules on this issue.

In this case, the defendants are claiming that giving fertility treatments to a lesbian woman somehow "violates" their religious freedom. As the article says, "On the heels of its ruling on same-sex marriage, California's highest court will decide another potentially landmark civil rights case: whether doctors can refuse to treat certain patients for religious reasons... Benítez, who is gay, says doctors violated her civil rights because they refused her a fertility treatment, saying it was against their religion to perform insemination on a lesbian."

Am I the only one who finds it disturbing that an entire class of people could be discriminated against by doctors - who (in theory) anyone should be able to turn to for medical assistance? Everyone has the right to be treated fairly by medical practitioners! Let's see how California's Supreme Court rules.

-Adam Ratliff

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