Michigan Doctor Refuses To Treat A Lesbian Couple's Baby, Because The Fight for Gay Rights Doesn't End With Gay Marriage
In today's edition of "news that makes me want to keyboard smash in rage," Michigan doctor Vensa Roi refused to treat a lesbian couple's baby, a decision she came to after praying about it. Krista and Jami Contreras were referred to Dr. Roi by their midwife before having their first child, Bay Windsor Contreras, last October, Cosmopolitan reports. After meeting her once before the birth of their child, the couple was excited for their initial appointment, until they arrived at the practice and found no sign of their doctor. Instead, they were seen by another practitioner in Eastlake Pediatrics, who told them Dr. Roi "decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won't be able to care for Bay," Jami told KTVU. In fact, the doctor didn't even go to work that morning in order to avoid the couple.The Contreras family proceeded with the appointment, but as you can imagine, they quickly started searching for another pediatric group for their week-old baby. This time, however, they made sure to explain they were a lesbian couple "first thing on the phone," Krista told KTVU. Bay ended up with another doctor, but the couple was still upset about their treatment months later, calling it "embarrassing [and]... humiliating." According to Cosmopolitan, the Contrares family decided to go public with their experience this month, taking to Facebook to explain what happened. After the story drew more and more attention on social media, as well as numerous people calling Eastlake Pediatrics to complain, the couple received an apology letter from Dr. Roi. From the Detroit Free Press:
"Dear Jami & Krista... I never meant to hurt either of you. After much prayer following your prenatal (visit), I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient doctor relationship that I normally do with my patients... 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."
As for why she didn't show up to the office to tell them her decision in person, Dr. Roi claims she felt it would have "[taken] away from the excitement" of having a newborn. Yeah, homophobia tends to do that. (The letter can be read in its entirety on the Free Press website.) According to KTVU, part of the reason the Contrares family came forward is because Dr. Roi's decision is entirely legal. The American Medical Association "[opposes] any discrimination based on an individual's sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity," among many other things, but doctors in the U.S. can, and do, refuse treatment if they feel it goes against their personal, religious, or moral beliefs. According to the Free Press, less than half the states (22, to be exact) in the U.S. have laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and Michigan isn't one of them. Jami and Krista Contrares aren't planning on suing Dr. Roi, but they couldn't even if they wanted to. In fact, the Religious Freedom Act currently awaiting its fate in Michigan's State Senate will most likely make things harder for the LGBT community, as opponents claim it could be used to "challenge local non-discrimination ordinances," according to Michigan Live.Jami hit the nail on the head when summing up the whole situation to the Free Press: "You're discriminating against a baby? It's just wrong."
In case you miraculously managed to forget, the Contrares family's story is a pretty good reminder that awesome as it may be, the right to marry doesn't fix the problems facing the LGBT community today. It doesn't even come close.