In the state of Michigan there are currently no laws that protect LGBT families against discrimination or mistreatment.This is a hard lesson that Krista and Jami Contreras were forced to learn, when a paediatrician by the name of Dr. Roi, who had come highly recommended, refused to care for their baby girl, Bay. According to state regulation, doctors cannot discriminate against or refuse patients based on sexuality, but they are allowed to turn patients away if they feel that their morals, personalities or religious beliefs will interfere with the level of care that they will be able to provide. However, in the case of baby Bay, there is now way that she, as a six day old infant, would be able to present reason to believe that her morals, personality or religious beliefs would conflict with those of Dr. Roi. Therefore, Jami and Krista have come to the conclusion Dr. Roi’s refusal to care for their daughter is based solely on issues that she has with their sexuality. Jami Contreras comments: “As far as we know Bay doesn’t have a sexual orientation yet, so I’m not really sure what that matters… 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 dismissal of Jami, Krista and Bay seems to be centred around the Dr. Roi’s obvious homophobia as opposed to concerns revolving around the level of care that she would be able to provide, as the clear reason for her refusal to care for Bay is that her parents are lesbians. Krista and Jami claim that they were greeted by another doctor upon their arrival at Eastlake Paediatrics, where they had previously met with Dr. Roi. The surprise doctor informed the couple that he would be their new paediatrician, as Dr. Roi had prayed prior to the appointment and decided that she would not be able to care for Bay Contreras as she felt uncomfortable for personal reasons. In a sense this adamant refusal to care for a child, who is just the same as any other, can be seen as xenophobic. This is because Dr. Roi presents a sort of fear or direct avoidance towards the LGBT family, seemingly because their lifestyle is unfamiliar, foreign or unknown to her.
While Dr. Roi’s refusal should not reflect badly upon other paediatricians in the area, it should reflect badly upon the state of Michigan, and society in general. Krista and Jami should have the same rights as any other married couple, but the fact that they are a lesbian couple prevents them from taking appropriate action against Dr. Roi. When asked if they would be filing a lawsuit, Jami and Krista replied that a lawsuit was not an option, due to a lack of laws that stand to protect LGBT families. Their only option is to file a complaint with the state, with no guarantee that Dr. Roi will ever experience the ramifications of her misogynistic actions.
Months after the incident, the Contreras family received a letter of apology from Dr. Roi, explaining that she should have expressed her discomfort with the family face-to-face, and that she felt she would not be able to develop a proper relationship with Bay. Dr. Roi states: “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,” but it seems that judging is exactly what she is doing. If the couple had kept their sexual orientation a secret, there is a good chance that Dr. Roi would have happily provided care to their daughter Bay, and that fact alone is enough to call for justice. A letter full of excuses does not erase the fact that Dr. Roi embarrassed Jami and Krista, and let her own homophobic views and compulsory binary thinking interfere with her professionalism and ability to care for an innocent child, who has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. What is even worse, is that Dr. Roi is allowed to be discriminatory based on sexuality, or any other personal matter.
Overall, the Contreras family deserves the same respect and level of professionalism as any other family, and Dr. Roi deprived them of that based on homophobia. This raises red flags for many reasons, but mainly because she is allowed to carry on as a physician in a world where same sex marriage is becoming increasingly more common and accepted. The fact that she will likely see no consequences is not just unjust for Jami, Krista and Bay, but to all families who are being discriminated against.
“Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sex Couple’s Baby.” – Fox 2 News Headlines. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.