CA Supreme Court Denies Doctor's Rights of Conscience

Lesbian Woman Wins Lawsuit Against Doctor Refusing Artificial Insemination

SACRAMENTO, August 19, 2008-- In a case involving a lesbian woman seeking artificial insemination, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that doctors don't have the right to refuse to provide nonessential care to patients, even when the sought procedure conflicts with their religious beliefs.

The lawsuit was filed by Guadalupe Benitez, a lesbian woman living with her partner, who wanted to become pregnant with donated sperm through artificial insemination. Dr. Christine Brody, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the North Coast Women's Care Medical Group in Vista, was not comfortable assisting with that procedure because of her religious convictions. Dr. Brody referred Benitez to another doctor, who performed artificial insemination resulting in the birth of the child. Despite that, Benitez filed a lawsuit against Dr. Brody.

Ms. Benitez argued that her sexual orientation was the reason she was not provided the procedure. Dr. Brody, however, testified that the real issue was the marital status of Ms. Benitez, and that artificial insemination would not be provided to any single woman.

The CA Supreme Court decided that the fundamental rights of religious freedom and free speech do not exempt a medical clinic's physicians from complying with the California Unruh Civil Rights Act's prohibition against discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation.

RELATED CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHINGS

Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and Dignity of Procreation Vatican



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