Lesbian Refused IVF Treatment in California

Imagine going to a doctor for
medical treatment and hearing that doctor say that she won’t treat
you because of who you are. Not that she can’t treat you because
of your medical condition doesn’t match up to her expertise, but that she won’t treat you because doing
so would violate her religious convictions. It brings to mind some of
the most wretched moments in history, when nations adopted laws that
denied citizens equal treatment based on their race, religion, and cultural
background. As comforting
as it may be to think that such events are a thing of the past, a case coming before
the California Supreme Court
brought by a woman refused in vitro fertilization (IVF) by her doctors because she is
a lesbian, serves as a reminder that medical discrimination is still
a real threat for many Americans.

Guadalupe Benitez of Oceanside,
California, went to a local medical practice that was covered by her
insurance to receive treatment for polycystic ovarian
In 1999, she was finally ready to attempt to get pregnant through artificial
insemination. That’s when her doctors, citing religious objection to aiding lesbian parenthood, refused to perform the procedure. Benitez, now
36 and the mother of a 6-year-old boy and 2-year-old twin
girls, sued her doctors for discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Benitez alleges that her doctors
treated her with fertility drugs but refused to conduct the IVF procedure
saying that doing so for a lesbian patient went against their religious
beliefs. She also alleges that her doctors gave her instruction
on how to inseminate herself but refused to handle the procedure themselves.
Benitez’s doctors, Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton, refused to
perform the IVF procedure for her in 2000. In 2001, Benitez she sued them,
claiming that they "violated a California state law that bars for-profit
businesses from ‘arbitrarily’ discriminating against clients
based on characteristics such as race, age and sexual orientation," the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report notes.
Prior to 2000, the California Supreme Court had ruled that businesses
could not deny services based on sexual orientation but it did not rule
against discrimination based on a person’s marital status until 2005.

In sworn declarations Benitez’s
attorneys said that her doctors stated that they refused her IVF based
on their Christian beliefs, which they said prohibited them from providing
the treatment to lesbians. However, in later depositions the doctors
claimed that their beliefs prohibited them from providing the treatment
to any unmarried couples regardless of their sexual orientation.
Although a trial court ruled in favor of Benitez, that ruling was over
turned by an appellate court, which noted that California civil rights
law at the time did allow businesses to deny services based on a person’s
marital status. Now the case, which has been brought to address the issue of whether a doctor’s religious views can be used as a defense for refusing treatment, is before the California Supreme Court with a ruling expected in the next 90 days.

Until 2005,
women could be denied medical treatment for infertility in California
because they were not married on the grounds that assisting them in
getting pregnant was a sin. History reminds us that many women
were refused prescriptions for the pill because they were not married.
If the California Supreme Court rules that doctors may refused lesbians
treatment based on their religious beliefs, would they also be allowed
to use that defense to refuse treatment to people of color, people of
a different faith or atheists?

Those questions should not
be casually dismissed. The refusal of services based on religious
grounds is a defense used by pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions
throughout America. The National Women’s
Law Center
that refusals to fill contraception or emergency contraception prescriptions
by pharmacists are increasing nationwide. These refusals are particularly
problematic in rural areas and for low-income patients who may not have
other pharmacy options. The National Women’s Law Center’s Pharmacy Refusal
Project works to address the problem of pharmacy refusals by developing
legal approaches to secure the right to access contraception at the
pharmacy and providing technical assistance for people who have been denied

It is important to note that there is a difference between the denial of IVF based on the patient’s sexual orientation and the refusal to fill a prescription because of a religious objection to the purpose of the medication. The denial of IVF based on a patient’s sexual orientation is a case of discrimination against an individual while the refusal to fill a prescription is based on a personal objection to the medication itself and/or the service requested, not the individual requesting that service. The Committee on Ethics of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) addressed conscientious refusal in their November 2007 opinion titled The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine. The abstract of the opinion explains that

…conscientious refusals should be limited if they constitute an imposition of religious or moral beliefs on patients, negatively affect a patient’s health, are based on scientific misinformation, or create or reinforce racial or socioeconomic inequities. Conscientious refusals that conflict with patient well-being should be accommodated only if the primary duty to the patient can be fulfilled.

In the Benitez case, her doctors did not refuse to treat her after the initial consultation and then refer her to another physician. They treated her as their patient for quite some time and then refused her the IVF procedure because of who she is, and that is a deviation from the guidelines stressed in the ACOG opinion and the basis for the discrimination lawsuit.

The denial of medical services
based on religious grounds is clearly a defense of discrimination that
could impact all women. Guadalupe Benitez
will soon find out

the California Supreme Court’s ruling in her case. Although
she was able to find other medical treatment and she now has three children,
Benitez says that the out of pocket costs were not covered by her insurance
and that those costs were significant. I can’t help but wonder how
many other women and couples have faced the same situation and were not able
to find or afford alternative treatment. How many patients across
America were told that they are not worthy to be parents because of
who they are and how many more would be at risk due to discrimination
based on religious grounds if that legal defense becomes protected by
law? Guadalupe Benitez’s case is a reproductive justice
battle that should remind us that there, but for the grace of legal
protection, go all of us.

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  • invalid-0

    I can see this easily becoming a slippery slope. If a physician thinks that homosexuals are doomed to hell for all eternity, could he/she refuse to provide a life-saving procedure such as cardiac surgery, on the grounds of religious belief?

    It’s scary.

  • invalid-0

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    When a doctor suggests to a patient that a procedure goes against their personal religious values, and sends that patient to another doctor, at no extra cost (which is a part that seems to have been abrogated from this editorial) what is the problem?

    Why do we need to FORCE a particular doctor to do it, when there are others willing?

    This isn’t a case of discrimination against lesbians. This is a case of forcing doctors to do what they don’t believe, nor do they want.

    This is a blatant violation of the first amendment. By establishing a law that prohibits the free exercise of religion by enforcing people to perform procedures that are against their will or religion, you are encouraging a tyranny.

    Think about the long run affects these frivolous lawsuits are having. How many people will have too many incentives NOT to become a doctor in the long run? How many brilliant minds will refuse to practice medicine, while they mentally may be more than capable, out of fear that they will be forced to practice against what they believe?

    It comes down to this: He gave them an alternative, they refused. There would be no additional cost.

    But the “separation of church and state” (which is a metaphor used by Jefferson, found NOWHERE in our constitution) only applies when people are offended by depictions of religious items in public places. Of course, it should not be enforced when a state is going to force a doctor to practice outside of their individual beliefs! Because the constitution is pertinent to the person who is being affected. It is far from lapidary, and will be tortuous to fit the lives of those who desire to grant themselves rights while denying them to others.

    And please, respond to this. I just want to know how you can possibly, constitutionally defend this egregious action.

    • invalid-0

      Fredrick, I’m not sure anyone is suggesting that the basis of anti-discrimination laws is the separation of church and state.

      You question “Why do we need to FORCE a particular doctor to do it, when there are others willing?”

      I’ll answer your question with this. In 1960 in my town they believed that you couldn’t force a landlord to rent an apartment to a black family, or for a restaurant to offer service to a black family, or for an employer to offer a job.

      The result was that a black person could not rent or purchase a home anywhere in my town, they were not allowed to eat in the restaurants, they could not get a job.

      Instead they had no other choice but to live in impovershed places that offered a very poor education for their children.

      I’m assuming you understand why this is wrong.

      I also suspect that if you were denied medical care, you wouldn’t consider the lawsuit frivolous.

      There are two problems here. The first is if you declare the doctors right to refuse patients on discriminatory grounds more important than the patients right to receive treatment, what happens when a Republican with a heart attack walks into the E/R and the attending physician says “Sorry, I don’t treat republicans.” Should the state be forcing that doctor to practice outside of their individual beliefs???

      The second problem is the same one with housing, employment, etc. If you can deny housing, employment, and medical care to someone because they are lesbian, they become a non-person with less rights.

      To me, “egregious action” is defined by telling someone to get out of your hospital because they are black, jewish, asian, muslim, female, or lesbian.

      You say that some people will refuse to become doctors because they are so racist or homophobic that would rather not become doctors than be forced to treat a class of people they don’t like. I say “fine,” I think we can make do without those doctors.

      Furthermore, a constitutional law is one which does not violate the constitution. Your implication that a law has to fit within the confines of some particular amendment in order to be constitutional is quite odd.

      • invalid-0

        Why do so many people make this connection from racism to gay discrimination? While I HATE that discrimination of any sort exists in our world, the two are completely separate. Racism is prejudice against someone because of skin color, which nobody has a choice over and is wrong. Homosexuality is a choice a behavior which isn’t wrong, but it has its obvious limits of not being able to reproduce. Anytime someone chooses to be homosexual the option of making a child is out of the picture. This is not discrimination it is the choice of the individual to start a same sex family. However, had it been a treatment for a medical illness I’m sure the doctor would have treated her. I just can’t see any doctor turning away anyone that is in need of medical treatment on any basis, even though I know it happens because we don’t live in a perfect world. However, in the case of Benitez the treatment she wanted was not due to an illness it was due to a personal choice. Furthermore, these doctors didn’t refuse treatment to a class of people they don’t like in Benitez’s case. The doctors chose not to treat her based on a choice she made. This doesn’t in any way suggest they don’t like Benitez; they just don’t support this one choice she made.

    • invalid-0

      It is unfortunate that even the comment directly below yours makes this an issue of race and it clearly is not. The issue is that apparently a person practicing the behavior of lesbianism has more rights than a practicing physician. Religious liberty and freedom even in ones own private practice is in danger. They should not be forced to provide services against there own personal convictions. To even equate the segregation of the African American community from past history is way off base. I love all people and hope that someday everyone will understand the importance of religious freedom and give all people the same rights and not special treatment. Thanks for your very well thought out and in my opinion reasonable post on this issue. Those who respond with the comments that are derrogatory only show their apparent lack of research.

  • invalid-0

    Here’s the bottom line. Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton are not the ones that denied Benitez a child. Benitez chose not to have children when she chose a same sex partner. This was her choice to be with another woman, which she has every right to be. However, she should not have the right to use a doctors or IVF to make a child. Benitez should accept the consequences of her actions, and not place them on the doctors.

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    …and if she had chosen a male partner who was infertile, and a doctor didn’t support women choosing to be with infertile men, then what would THAT be?

  • http://nsrc.sfsu.edu invalid-0

    Vivian, as Heather pointed out, if you follow your argument to its logical conclusion, then no one should be able to access fertility treatment. We all ‘choose’ our partners based on a myriad of factors–so if someone ‘chooses’ someone who is infertile, who is prone to miscarry, etc., then you’re saying it’s their own damn fault and they should choose someone else or suffer the consequences and be doomed to childlessness. Basically, then, the main factor we should all use in selecting a partner is their potential reproductive capacity? That will make for a satisfying relationship.

    Further, great parenting requires a lot more than being able to knock yourself up without the help of a doctor–when we move beyond the simple mechanics of conception, the reality is that there are tons of folks who have the capacity to raise fabulous kids, and again, we have no right to decide whether or not someone can do that based simply on biology (Just look at Annie and Daddy Warbucks! Or Arnold and Mr. Drummond. Don’t forget Punky Brewster.). As a single mother by choice (with a little help from my fertility doctors), I can tell you that my parenting has only been improved because of the consciousness that has been necessitated by my choice.

    Thanks for another great post, Pamela.

  • invalid-0

    I see your point, and it’s a very good one, but the fact is she didn’t choose an infertile man; she chose a woman. An infertile man is a different subject all together. However, to answer your question if a doctor chose not to help the infertile couple that would be discrimination if he was born infertile or was subject to an accident beyond his control. This is discrimination because he was born this way or something happened that he had no choice in.

    Yes I see the obvious flaw in my logic. The next question would be what if she chose to be of a religion the doctor didn’t support and so on and so on, what then. Then that would be discrimination based on religion. Religion doesn’t prevent a person from conceiving a child. Also I want to be clear I’m not saying that Benitez and her partner shouldn’t experience the joy of rearing children. I’m simply pointing out that in her case she should’ve accepted she would not be able to conceive children.

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    Again, some people will choose partners they know to be infertile of any gender, but with whom they still want to have families. As Ann said more directly than I down the page, this is a large part of why we have these services in the first place.

    Certainly, those couples will need to accept that – even with the help of technology when it is not withheld from them — they may not be able to conceive. (And it’s also perhaps worth mentioning that if a male/female couple could not, procuring an adoption would be something they could do far easier than a lesbian couple due, also, to discrimination.)

    The fact that two women cannot independently create a pregnancy is also a limitation both were born with. None of us have had a choice when it comes to what sex we were born as. This is no more in the control of two women than it is a man and a woman.

    I just don’t see the difference, nor why one scenario is discrimination and the other is not, particularly when we are talking about medical services and services expressly created and done for couples who, beyond their control, are unable to conceive.

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    …and compare, might be the heterosexual couple where a man chose, earlier in his life, to have a vasectomy which could not be reversed.

    That was his choice, and an intentional one. She chose him as a partner knowing this.

    Would, then, it not be just as valid, and somehow in no way discriminatory, for that couple to be denied IVF services by the logic you’re posing?

    Should that woman then, having known for the start that conception with this man would likely be impossible, have instead cast aside a partner she loved and wanted a family with for another solely on the criteria that that person had not had a vasectomy (consider too, if sleeping with that other man felt, to her, completely wrong in every cell in her body)?

    (Bear in mind, I am leaving the matter of choosing a partner out of the discussion, nor how much of a choice any of us have in who we love and see as a wonderful and wanted co-parent, primarily because I just don’t even see its relevance with this issue.)

  • invalid-0

    I disagree with your statement that a lesbian chooses to be a lesbian. that is such a silly and ridiculous notion.

    people do not choose their sexuality. if people chose their sexuality, all of us would be straight. no one chooses to be ridiculed, discriminated against, and all sorts of other things that our society does to gay people.

    no more can gay people choose to become straight then you can become gay.

    the comparison to racial discrimination is totally accurate.

    I fully believe that we as a country will one day be as embarrassed by our collective homophobia, as we have been by our racism.

  • invalid-0

    I never claimed my logic was universal, I understand your point and yes you can shoot down my logic with a ton of other comparisons and examples. I am simply stating the doctors should be able to refuse this treatment to Benitez without repercussions because Benitez is with another woman and throughout human nature no two women could naturally have children together so why should these doctors be forced to make it happen if they don’t want to. Again I know my logic here doesn’t hold true in other situations… I’m just saying is all.

    You say we have no choice in who we fall in love with, and that it is of no relevance. It’s the most relevant, if she had fell in love with a fertile man we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Falling in love is the one thing we have the most control over and should put the most thought into. Choosing the right love is choosing the person forever, and if that person doesn’t meet all requirements then they shouldn’t be considered for the position. I know it’s a cold hearted way of looking at it, but when a comes to living a lifetime with someone, it pays to make sure they are everything you need to avoid hardships and unhappiness in the future. Benitez and her partner chose to be together and look at all the obsticales they have endured and yet through it all they have managed to have children regardless of being denied IVF from these two doctors. The point I’m driving is that these doctors shouldn’t be looked at as discriminateing. They are merely expressing there beliefs which conflict with Benitez’s beliefs. The doctors didn’t act harshly toward her, they simply referred her to another path which yielded the desired result, so why should they be punished for this situation?

  • invalid-0

    Thank you for bringing this up. I would love to hear how this instance is the same as racial discrimintation. I also would love to know how sexuality happens if it isn’t chosen. Please explain to me how some people are born homosexual and others are born heterosexual and yet others are born bi-sexual as it applies to the majority of our society, not just a few exceptions to the rule. As this is something I’ve never understood.

    Thanks for the comment

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    I think the story makes clear, though, that they didn’t simply refer her out.

    They had her pay for services for some time, without disclosing to her that they were not going to continue to do so or complete her procedures, knowing she was under the impression that they would do so. They also made clear that they were, by the very definition of the word, discriminating. Even in likely listening to their lawyers and stating this was about her marital status, and that they refused to provide services to unmarried, they were discriminating on the basis of either, and did so in a pretty misleading way. They only got let off the hook the last time because they stated they were participating in an ALLOWABLE form of discrimination (based on marital status). They didn’t express their conflict at the door, after all: nothing close.

    Obviously, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree when it comes to aspects of this. I’m queer, for starters, and I also make my living in human sexuality and relationships. I simply do not see sexual and affectional orientation as a choice nor accept that if one chooses to partner in harmony with — rather than in conflict with — an orientation, love, or with a known existing condition (like vaginismus, for example) in which pregnancy is not possible without medical intervention that that choice alone means a couple needs accept they cannot reproduce when others do not have to accept that, despite equal ability to pay for those interventions and be helped by them, all of which undoubtedly influences my thinking on this.

    I also don’t agree that this situation differs from the myriad others which IVF is really all about.

    I don’t agree that in choosing partners it’s so simple as having (or anticipating) a list of criteria a person will or won’t meet, and if they don’t meet everything on the list — which may likely change as time passes and people grow — we just show them the door and keep shopping. We can’t anticipate all of our lifelong needs and wants in advance so simply, for starters. But too, when we’re talking about a lesbian woman who would approach relationships in the way you’re suggesting, she’d have to, then, if she could not use IVF, necessarily be without something on her list: either a partner of a sex or gender she feels at home with OR a biological child. In other words, by your way of thinking, a lesbian woman with both those wants is either just an impossibility or SOL when it comes to getting the same things in relationships opposite-sex couples with similar issues can obtain.

    As well, when it comes to medical practices and services, the notion of what is and isn’t possible or natural just strikes me as completely outside medical protocols and aims. Throughout most of human nature, our infant and maternal mortality rate was horrendous: it’s not “natural” for a lot of preemies to be able to survive, but we don’t often hear people arguing that if they can’t, in alignment with nature, we should withhold the services we can now provide to make that possible.

    But I do appreciate a civil conversation with someone of a vastly different opinion here. It is very much appreciated.

  • invalid-0

    I agree with you that the doctors should never have strung Benitez along wasting her time and money knowing they wouldn’t see it through to the end. I will agree we just have to disagree, but thanks for opening my eyes to the flaws in my argument. However, I want you to know I am not one for discriminating against anyone as I was born mixed black and white and know the stuggeles discrimination causes on both sides. However, while I understand race I do not understand being queer. Not saying it’s right or wrong, because I have no right judge anyone. I just don’t understand it. How come she can’t feel at home with a male that is feminine? Why can’t a man feel at home with a woman that is masculine? I would really appreciate a good honest answer even though it isn’t the topic of our discussion. If you’d rather not discuss in an open forum you can e-mail me at stdvjj@yahoo.com. It’s just one of the questions I’ve never been able to get an honest answer to because I was afraid to ask any of the gay people I knew for fear I’d offend them as I don’t know them too well. Thanks again for the conversation.

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    I think the only way to answer that — if that is the case for her — is that she just can’t.

    Just the same way that many heterosexuals just can’t or just don’t feel as at home with someone of the same sex, regardless of their gender identity when we’re talking about “masculine” and “feminine” qualities, which are often pretty individually and personally defined. Just the same way that someone who feels a strong call and gift to be a doctor might have a very hard time trying to make themselves — particularly based on someone else’s standards, rather than their own wants and needs, and on someone’s standards who CAN follow their heart in that way — just can’t make themselves feel that same desire to be a writer if they just don’t feel that thing.

    That isn’t the case for everyone, mind you. What we know about sexual orientation so far through sexology is that MOST people have SOME attraction to all genders. Not all, though, but most. For instance, I’m a bisexual person who in many ways, prefers women. I do, however, have a male partner over the last few years who I cherish very dearly, and who meets other needs of mine, even though his gender is not the one I typically feel the strongest attraction to as a whole. (And in a lot of ways, we both are people who are partnered with a rather masculine woman and a rather feminine man, but my partner isn’t gay and I am not lesbian.) Plus, as a dykey bisexual person, rather than as an exclusive lesbian — and that’s a very important difference, we’re at different points on the scale of orientation — I do personally feel more flexibility in my attractions and for the most part, in my life, who I’m attracted to on the whole just really isn’t and hasn’t ever been about gender for me at all. However, I have also had times where I just did not feel that kind of attraction to men: I just plain did not feel that thing. And during some of those times, given some of the hell I had to take for NOT feeling it, I would have loved to feel that, though only to get some relief. But I didn’t feel it and couldn’t make it happen.

    I think times like that tell us a lot, too: the only reason I’ve ever had even a passing interest in trying to change the way I feel in regard to orientation is to try and meet or live more comfortably under the standards set by those who feel no differently when it comes to how unchangeable orientation is: they just think — and sometimes legislate — that theirs is superior or that they are the only ones entitled to rights and partnerships that feel right for them. And heck, I had a really comfortable coming out experience, family in my adult life who, for the most part, have been warm, welcoming and fully accepting of everyone I have loved, no matter their gender, and have lived urban for almost all of my life, and often in very queer-friendly arts communities. My brief discomforts were just absolutely NOTHING compared to what some queer people are put through due to this cultural privleging of one orientation over another.

    I’ve never had that same lack of attraction with women — that’s always been constant — and I have no explanations for those times my attraction to women has felt exclusive or why I am much more often and more strongly sexually and emotionally attracted to women. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember, just like I’ve always been loud, I’ve always been a bit of a klutz and I’ve always been driven to create things. It’s just one part of myself that just IS.

    However, even for those who have some — to whatever degree — attraction to a sex or gender who is still not the one they feel most at home with, most natural with (for lack of a better word), perhaps you can understand why a person would simply most WANT to be with someone who they did feel most at home with in that way, and how they might feel discord if they were not, particularly when they can see others not even just allowed, but celebrated in choosing to be with someone of the sex THEY feel most at home with?

    It might even be something you can actually acutely identify in some respects being biracial: have you even been asked or expected to pass for one race or the other? How has that made you feel? How do you feel if forced to, or told you really should, only identify as one race?

    Ultimately, if you can understand being straight, you can understand NOT being straight. I’m not saying you CAN, mind you — I’m not sure any of us can completely understand orientation at this point, but we can know what your feelings and experiences are, know what others express their own to be, and we can certainly accept those common experiences and know them to exist, you know?

    I don’t know if any of that helped or clarified things for you, but there’s a very short version of what I can offer, from this bi-dyke to you, and I’m so not offended to be asked. Rather, I think it’s great that you ask. I think you could actually ask your gay friends, too, without offending them asking in the way that you are. If you’re straight, they probably don’t understand why YOU are what you are, either. :)

  • invalid-0

    “people do not choose their sexuality. if people chose their sexuality, all of us would be straight.”

    There’s a difference between the feeling or inclination of homosexuality and choosing to do what makes one a homosexual. You’re blending the two and saying an individual has no choice.

    An individual has only some choice about the feelings and desires that well up within them – to some degree, that is out of their control. However, someone has the complete choice as far as whether or not they choose to act on those desires.

    “no one chooses to be ridiculed, discriminated against, and all sorts of other things that our society does to gay people.”

    Again, I think you’re blending concepts. People choose to live a lifestyle or perform actions that others do not agree with or call wrong. People never directly choose to be discriminated against, but they do indirectly do things that cause them to be discriminated against. If I walk into a store in black clothes with a mask on, should I expect discrimination? If I wear a shirt that says “I hate middle class white males,” should I expect discrimination?

    Some people don’t like what other people do, for whatever reason. That right to disagree has to be sustained.

    “no more can gay people choose to become straight then you can become gay.”

    Why then are there some people who go from straight to gay to straight again? No one is locked into one sexual orientation. People can make choices against their desires. You and I do it all the time, because what we feel is not always what is actual.

    “the comparison to racial discrimination is totally accurate. I fully believe that we as a country will one day be as embarrassed by our collective homophobia, as we have been by our racism.”

    It’s not. If I dislike a black person, I have in essence chosen to dislike them based on their genetic material or their ancestry. If I choose to dislike a homosexual, I have chosen to dislike them based on the actions they perform based on their desires.

    The fact is, it’s not wrong to believe either of those things if you allow someone their rights. You may say that they are wrong to believe such things, but you cannot by compulsion say they may not believe those things or they may not act on those beliefs (peaceably in context of a society).

    The doctors in this particular case were wrong by stringing the patient along and eventually denying her care. That’s clear. No one should be denied critical medical care that affects someone’s well being in terms of life or death, or a procedure that is not life or death but crucial to someone’s health (saving a limb or a critical organ, etc). The value of life is upheld independent of your personal convictions. I wish people believed the same about abortion.

    However, a doctor should not be forced to accept a patient if they have a personal conviction against them. If you do not uphold that right, you are forcing a person to act as if they believed what you believe.

    To the individual who cited how blacks could not find certain services because of racism, I agree with you wholeheartedly that it was wrong to do so.

    But it’s even *more* of a wrong to force someone to do something they do not want to do when they have not come to that place intellectually or emotionally or what have you; if you own a business, you should have complete control of that business with the exceptions of issues critical to life or critical well-being. If someone was dying of thirst/hunger on your sidewalk and no one would sell him a jug of water, I believe compulsion is necessary there because it’s beyond personal conviction when it’s an issue of life.

    Again, if the same logic of certain absolutes which trump personal conviction (the value of life) was applied to abortion, we would be all the better.

    But not for a non-essential service or good that can be obtained elsewhere. Heck, it’s part of our economy that when people make a decision to not serve a need, they lose potential sales while other sources which will offer the service would gain money. That’s eventually win-win… without the compulsion of forcing someone to do something they don’t agree with. It accomplishes the goal better than legislating belief.

    Those are my views. Love them, hate them, but remember that I have said them with nothing but love and the perception of truth to you all. I appreciate those who evaluate views for their verity and falsehood, but I cannot appreciate those who would attack me as a homophobic, hateful person. I love you because I tell you the truth and do not immediately conform when I really see the situation differently based on study and personal conviction.

  • invalid-0

    “Vivian, as Heather pointed out, if you follow your argument to its logical conclusion, then no one should be able to access fertility treatment.”

    I don’t think that follows based on what Vivian meant. The statement “no one who marries someone who is infertile may have a fertility treatment” isn’t what she was implying. She was saying that it’s not an essential service to a couple who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to have children in the first place.

    “again, we have no right to decide whether or not someone can do that based simply on biology”

    Sure we can. We can be right or wrong, but I definitely have the right to make a choice to believe that a certain couple should not have kids. I cannot prevent them from acquiring that service from a doctor who offers it, but I should not be forced to offer that service if I have not accepted any compensation from that individual or entered into business contract with them.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you’re trying to give one person a right that tramples on another person’s right. It must be recognized that someone has a right to believe whatever they want and to act on that belief when it does not hinder someone else’s essential rights. It’s not an essential right to have IVF.

    You may make a transcendent moral pronouncement that it is wrong to deny that procedure (right or wrong), but that does not mean they should be forced to provide it; if so, then your right is dominating someone else’s right unfairly.

  • invalid-0

    Racism and Gay discrimination are seperate and you may have unknowingly agreed with me. Both are the same only in that it is discrimination. However, we have to draw the line somewhere or pedaphiles will say we are discriminateing against them by imprisoning them for being with the one they love. Same as you stated if you went into a store dressed in black with a mask on you know full well you will most likely be shuned and discriminated against. You said yourself choosing to dislike someone based on their genetic material (race) is not wrong and choosing to dislike someone based on their actions is also acceptable. How is it possible to claim both beliefs are right and then agree it’s wrong to deny blacks certain services after stateing it’s O.K. This proves my point that racism and gay discrimination are only similar in that both are discrimination. Yet dislikeing someone for genetic material which in no way tells anyone anything about the individual is without a doubt wrong. However dislikeing someone or even denying someone something based on their actions is what we do everyday when we chose our friends. At least that’s the way I see it.

    Thanks for the post

  • invalid-0

    I might have missed the statement/point as I have not read every (lengthy) post; however, the logical/reasonable end to the government attempting to force doctors to become unwilling accomplices in an activity in which they do not believe will have very serious repercussions. The doctors will simply sabotage the procedures, rather than voicing their true feelings and put themselves on the official record of denying service. Are we stupid enough to think that we can wrangle someone who is more intelligent and force them into submission??!! Doctors (for the most part) are patient, ethical and trustworthy, but DO NOT confuse their positive attributes as weapons that can be used against them! These women should be grateful that the doctors were forth-coming in their opinions. The last thing I want is a conflicted physician working on me! I guarantee that no more California doctors will open their mouths in the future when they disagree (not that their actions will change, though).

  • invalid-0

    Wow, I honestly hadn’t looked at the situation and how it would disuade Docotors from speaking up and causeing them to be in an unwanted work atmosphere. Good point.