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Old 08-19-2008, 04:47 PM   #1
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CA Supreme Court-Doctors Cannot Invoke Religious Beliefs To Deny Treatment

Calif.: Docs Can't Deny Care To Lesbians

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18, 2008 (AP) California's highest court on Monday barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

In the lawsuit that led to the ruling, Guadalupe Benitez, 36, of Oceanside said that the doctors treated her with fertility drugs and instructed her how to inseminate herself at home but told her their beliefs prevented them from inseminating her. One of the doctors referred her to another fertility specialist without moral objections, and Benitez has since given birth to three children.

Nevertheless, Benitez in 2001 sued the Vista-based North Coast Women's Care Medical Group. She and her lawyers successfully argued that a state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation applies to doctors.

The law was originally designed to prevent hotels, restaurants and other public services from refusing to serve patrons because of their race. The Legislature has since expanded it to cover characteristics such as age and sexual orientation.

"It was an awful thing to go through," Benitez said. "It was very painful — the fact that you have someone telling you they will not help you because of who you are, that they will deny your right to be a mother and have a family."

Benitez has given birth to three children through artificial insemination — Gabriel, 6, and twin daughters, Sophia and Shane, who turn 3 this weekend. She is raising them in Oceanside with her longtime partner, Joanne Clark.

Jennifer Pizer, Benitez's attorney, said that the ruling was "a victory for public health" and that she expected it to have nationwide influence.

"It was clear and emphatic that discrimination has no place in doctors' offices," Pizer said.

The ruling was unanimous and a succinct 18 pages, a contrast to the state Supreme Court's 4-3 schism in May legalizing marriage between same-sex couples.

Robert Tyler, one of the lawyers for the clinic, said the ruling advanced the Supreme Court's "radical agenda" and would help the campaign supporting a November ballot initiative that seeks to once again ban gay marriage in California.

"The Supreme Court's desire to promote the homosexual lifestyle at the risk of infringing upon the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is what the public needs to learn about," said Tyler, who leads the nonprofit Advocates for Faith and Freedom in Murrieta, Calif.

The Supreme Court did order a trial court to consider whether the Christian doctors were allowed to refuse inseminating Benitez because she was unmarried. The Legislature in 2006 amended the law to bar discrimination based on marital status, but it's unclear whether the doctors could legally withhold treatment in 2000.

The case drew numerous friends of the court briefs from a wide variety of religious organizations, medical groups and gay civil rights organizations.

The American Civil Rights Union supported the Christian doctors, siding with the Islamic Medical Association of North America, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations and anti-abortion groups.

The California Medical Association reversed its early support of the Christian doctors after receiving a barrage of criticism from gay rights activists, joining health care provider Kaiser Foundation Health Plan to oppose the Christian doctors.

The American Civil Liberties Union, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the National Health Law Program and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association filed papers backing Benitez.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:55 PM   #2
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So artificial insemination is now equated with medically necessary treatment.

Only in California.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:00 PM   #3
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Viagra's medically necessary
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:02 PM   #4
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So artificial insemination is now equated with medically necessary treatment.

Only in California.
Where did they say that?
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:04 PM   #5
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Viagra's medically necessary
How so?


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"It was an awful thing to go through," Benitez said. "It was very painful — the fact that you have someone telling you they will not help you because of who you are, that they will deny your right to be a mother and have a family."
This woman has clearly been drinking the left-liberal Kool Aid in large quantities. There is no such thing as a RIGHT to become a mother or have a family. Now, this being California, the activist law courts have backed her up all the way and decreed that, yes, there is such a thing. A case like this wouldn't work in most jurisdictions (hopefully).
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:05 PM   #6
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Where did they say that?
I didn't get the impression that they said it was medically necessary. Treatment means just that, doesn't have to be medically necessary.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:06 PM   #7
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This woman has clearly been drinking the left-liberal Kool Aid in large quantities. There is no such thing as a RIGHT to become a mother or have a family. Now, this being California, the activist law courts have backed her up all the way and decreed that, yes, there is such a thing. A case like this wouldn't work in most jurisdictions (hopefully).

Have you read the case at all? Do you realize that this was not decided on whether she has a right to become a mother and in fact had nothing to do with it?
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:07 PM   #8
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I think the point is that she has an equal right to be a mother/have a family that a straight woman has-whatever that right is.

Viagra is seemingly medically necessary according to insurance companies. I don't think you have to prove what you're using it for.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:09 PM   #9
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So artificial insemination is now equated with medically necessary treatment.

Only in California.
Infer much? You did read the article right?
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:19 PM   #10
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So artificial insemination is now equated with medically necessary treatment.

Only in California.
So you're okay with allowing doctors the permission to discriminate?
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:29 PM   #11
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So you're okay with allowing doctors the permission to discriminate?
That's not really the way I view it. Doctors should be guided by their moral conscience.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:30 PM   #12
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That's not really the way I view it. Doctors should be guided by their moral conscience.

Even if their moral conscience lets them deny treatment to people based on sexual orientation?
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:30 PM   #13
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First duty is to the patient, not the doctor's moral conscience. And moral conscience is not a license to discriminate.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:31 PM   #14
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Well lucky for us, doctors are licensed by the state and subject to the state laws rather than their own whims.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:42 PM   #15
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Even if their moral conscience lets them deny treatment to people based on sexual orientation?
You are having a laugh. You make it sound like it was treatment for an ulcer or something.
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