All Rights reserved
The California supreme court on Wednesday took briefings in an appeal brought by the gay advocacy group Lambda Legal concerning a lesbian who was denied infertility treatment by her San Diego County doctors because of her sexuality. Despite California's civil rights law, the doctors say they have the right to not offer the treatment because of their religious beliefs.
"Doctors with antigay religious beliefs are not excused from obeying the laws that govern all of us," Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, said in a press statement. "That our client's doctors felt that they could defy well-established California law and medical ethics is very worrisome for all of us in a civil society."
The situation arose when Guadalupe Benitez and her partner sought the help of North Coast Women's Care Medical Group last year to have a child. The group was the sole ob-gyn provider available through Benitez's health care plan. After 11 months under the care of physician Christine Brody, Benitez requested a simple insemination process. However, North Coast's medical director, Douglas Fenton, said that Benitez would not receive the procedure because of the staff's religious beliefs. "For nearly a year, my doctors accepted my insurance company's payments and my copayments and they strung me along with the promise that they would help me become pregnant," Benitez said in the statement. "I was in my doctors' care for their medical assistance, not for their religious judgments." (The Advocate)