Fertility Treatment of a Lesbian: Can A Physician Refuse?
Here is the scenario:
In the United States of America it is accepted that all physicians have a right to choose their own patients except in the case of a medical emergency.
In the United States of America , no physician receiving government funding may discriminate against potential patients on the basis of race ,color, religion or national origin and in the state of X, the anti-discrimination laws include, as do some other states, gender and sexual orientation.
Miss K.. has gone to fertility doctor F, who is a Medicare provider, with her same sex partner Miss J. requesting that Doctor F. provides fertility treatment so that Miss K. can become pregnant by artificial insemination. Both Miss K. and Miss J. explain their desire to have a child.
Doctor F. has strong personal religious views against abortion (which he would never perform) and also about inducing a pregnancy in a homosexual. He rejects her request and subsequently Miss K. sues Dr. F. in X state court charging that under state X law, Dr. F.’s refusal to treat represented illegal discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
That’s the story. Now what is your ethical and legal interpretation of this scenario? . What if Dr. F. is also a general internist and has been treating Miss K as his patient. for various medical conditions over the past several years prior to her making the request?
(I want to acknowledge this thread was born out of an article “May Doctors Refuse Infertility Treatments to Gay Patients?” by Jacob M. Appel in the July-August 2006 issue of the Hastings Center Report.) ..Maurice.