In a unanimous ruling that could have wide-ranging effects on the free exercise of conscience and the progress of homosexual activism, the California Supreme Court on Monday ruled against two doctors who declined to artificially inseminate a lesbian because they strongly believe children should be raised by a mother and a father.
The two doctors, who are Christians, reportedly did not want to participate in an act that would deliberately exclude a father when Guadalupe Benitez and her partner, Joanne Clark, sought to receive artificial insemination.
Although the doctors paid for a referral to other fertility specialists without any objections to performing the procedure, Benitez sued both under California’s civil rights laws.
The Christian Medical Association’s CEO Dr. David Stevens attacked the decision, saying in a press release:
“This case was never about discrimination against patients on the basis of sexual choices; it was about discrimination against healthcare professionals on the basis of their sincerely held ethical standards. The physicians in this case had determined to only provide in-vitro fertilization to married patients. That's hardly a novel or extreme ethical position.
"Physicians of course must treat all patients with compassion and respect, regardless of the belief systems or sexual norms of the patients. But tolerance is a two-way street: we must also respect the right of healthcare professionals to make decisions based on ethical standards.”
Dr. Stevens claimed the court decision exceeded the courts’ “proper reach,” violates “long- established principles of medical ethics,” and conflicts with the First Amendment and federal laws protecting the rights of conscience.
“This decision reaches beyond the medical profession. Taking away the First Amendment rights of healthcare professionals puts at risk the rights of every working American,” Stevens said.
He cited the American Medical Association’s code of ethics, which holds “neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act violative of personally held moral principles.”
Dr. Stevens added that if physicians perceive a conflict between providing a service and being true to their consciences, they most likely will stop providing the service.
“If the courts are going to decree that only a certain type of physician may practice in California, the net result is that patients will have decreased access to physicians,” he said.
Writing in a press release, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) said that the California Supreme Court’s decision could have far reaching effects. For example, regardless of their beliefs, the precedent could mean that everyone in the state’s wedding industry could be compelled to service homosexual weddings or California family lawyers could be forced to handle adoptions and divorces for same-sex couples.
“This case starkly demonstrates the take-no-prisoners approach of the gay rights movement,” said PJI President Brad Dacus. “They will not stop until they have silenced or bankrupted every voice of conscience who disagrees with them. In light of this and similar rulings, PJI is redoubling its efforts to defend people of faith who will not compromise their moral values.”