Unfortunately, this is no joke: a Vermont pediatrician decided not to treat a 6-day-old child because her parents were lesbians. Krista and Jami Contreras were married in Vermont in 2012 and welcomed their daughter, Bay, in 2014.
“As far as we know, Bay doesn’t have a sexual orientation yet so I’m not really sure [why] that matters,” Jami said. “We’re not your patient, she’s your patient. And the fact is that your job is to keep babies healthy...and you can’t keep a baby healthy that has gay parents?”
The family was recommended to Dr. Vesna Roi, and scheduled an appointment directly following Bay's birth. When they arrived, however, another doctor greeted them and explained, “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.”
Dr. Roi did not come to the office that morning in an effort to avoid the Contreras’.
After four months of feeling confused, hurt, and angry the Contreras family finally received a letter from Dr. Roi:
“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.”
Dr. Roi used her “free choice” to refuse treatment to a 6-day-old child, punishing the infant and her parents, and showcasing that the right to marriage is only step on the long road to LGBT equality.
According to the American Medical Association, the organization opposes:
“…any discrimination based on an individual's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, national origin or age and any other such reprehensible policies”
“Physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other criteria that would constitute invidious discrimination.”
However, they do allow doctors to hold to their own religious and moral beliefs, which is the loophole that allows incidents like this to occur.
Image c/o myFoxDetroitPrincess Weekes is a part-time bookseller and a full-time writer with a Master’s in English from Brooklyn College. A former intern at BUST magazine, she has since written articles for The Mary Sue, BUST and maintains her own video channel under the name Melina Pendulum, discussing the intersection of pop culture, feminism and race. She is currently working on a fantasy novel about black witches during the Jim Crow era, while attempting to purchase every liquid lipstick the world has to offer.