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Bible-beating doctors gone wild

“We fear this decision is going to worsen the confusion in the minds of the public about whether you can legally discriminate in the name of religion. The bottom line is that you should not be able to treat patients in a discriminatory way.”

— Jennifer Pizer, attorney for Lambda Legal Defense Fund

Along with the moralist pharmacists declaring they cannot fill prescriptions if they have a religious conflict, we have an unhinged ruling by a California judge that allows fertility doctors to deny treatment to lesbians (or single women for that matter) because of objections to the patient’s marital status. (

Friday’s ruling reversed a lower court decision that Drs. Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton could not use religion as a defense against a lawsuit filed by Guadalupe Benitez.

The panel found that the doctors were within their rights because they based their decision on Benitez’s unmarried status and that discrimination based on marital status is not prohibited by state law.

Guadalupe Benitez (right), with partner Joanne and son Gabriel, sued her doctors in Vista, CA in 2001, saying they would not perform artificial insemination because she is gay. (John Gastaldo/San Diego Union-Tribune)

Benitez was eventually treated elsewhere and gave birth to a boy who is now 3 years old.

In her suit, Benitez claims that Brody told her in 1999 that her religious beliefs prevented her from helping a homosexual conceive a child by artificial insemination, but that other physicians at the practice would be able to help her. The next year, Benitez said, she was told that both Brody and Fenton were unable to help her because they did not feel comfortable with her sexual orientation.

In addition to that bullcrap, we have some severely preposterous behavior by a doctor up in Michigan: Wiccan says she got lecture, not birth control prescription she wanted.

Amanda Blake believes in being prepared. So, when she turned 18 and started dating, she got the blessing of her father and went to get birth control pills even though she had no plans to have sexual relations with anyone.

She didn’t count on seeing a doctor who she said gave her a lecture about morality and her religious beliefs and didn’t prescribe any kind of birth control for her. The physician, Dr. Delbert Huelskoetter, practices at the Southwestern Medical Clinic’s Niles office on South 11th Street. He could not be reached for comment.

…“Not one medical question was brought up,” she said. “He just talked about religion and charged me $68. I found out later he did diagnose me with depression because I cried.” “To me, it’s a basic right (to get pills),” the Niles homeschooler said. “It’s normal and responsible to get birth control. People make such a big deal about safe sex, and that’s important. I have no plans to go out and lose my virginity, but I want to be prepared.”

Thanks to Blenders Paul and Cat for the pointers.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding