A doctor in Michigan in the US faced criticism after she refused to treat the baby of a same-sex couple.
Krista and Jami Contreras wed in Vermont in 2012. In October they welcomed their first child, a baby girl they named Bay Windsor Contreras. Before the baby was born, they had a meeting with Dr Vesna Roi at Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville. Roi was recommended to them by their midwife, and the couple seemed pleased after meeting her.
But according to KTVU, when the couple went to their first scheduled appointment for their newborn baby in October, they were surprised to discover Roi did not want to see them. They were greeted by another doctor because Roi had decided she couldn’t treat the baby after praying about it.
‘The first thing Dr Karam said was, “I’ll be your doctor, I’ll be seeing you today because Dr Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay,’ Jami said. ‘Dr Karam told us [Dr Roi] didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.’
‘As far as we know Bay doesn’t have a sexual orientation yet so I’m not really sure why this matters,’ Jami told KTVU. ‘We’re not your patients; she’s your patient. The fact is that your job is to keep babies healthy and you can’t keep a baby healthy that has gay parents?’
That is an excellent, logical point that sadly has probably fallen on completely deaf ears.
The couple made arrangements to find another doctor but four months later they were still devastated by the way they had been treated. That’s when they decided to go public with their story.
After the story gained traction on social media (and people complained to Eastlake Pediatrics), the Contreras family received a handwritten letter from Roi (which can be read in full here), attempting to explain her actions:
‘After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients. We do not keep prenatal information once we have our meetings so I had no way to contact you. I should have spoken with you directly that day… Please know that I believe that God gives us free choice and I would never judge anyone based on what they do with that free choice.’
According to the Detroit Free Press, while 22 states currently have laws prohibiting doctors from discriminating against sexual orientation, there is no such law in Michigan. Roi’s actions, while legal, have raised eyebrows in the medical community at large. Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have spoken out about discriminating against LGBT patients.
‘Respecting the diversity of patients is a fundamental value of the medical profession and reflected in long-standing AMA ethical policy opposing any refusal to care for patients based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other criteria that would constitute invidious discrimination,’ said a statement from Dr Gregory Blaschke, chair of the AMA’s LGBT Advisory Committee.
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The Contreras family said they do not plan to sue but rather hope to raise awareness about such practices in the medical community.
‘If they’re discriminating against anyone, I would want to know because I wouldn’t want to support that doctor, dentist or whoever’s doing it,’ Jami said. ‘So we just really wanted people to know – this is happening to families.’
This article was originally published on Cosmopolitan.com