California Supreme Court Takes Historic Lawsuit by Lesbian Against Fertility Clinic

The North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group treated Guadalupe Benitez, of Oceanside, with fertility drugs for roughly a year. However, when they learned that she was a lesbian, they refused on religious grounds to inseminate her. Now, just on the heels of its historic same-sex marriage ruling, the California Supreme Court has taken the case.

The Court will now decided whether doctors can refused medical treatment on the basis of their religious beliefs? An appellate court ruled in the affirmative, reversing a San Diego trial court that had found in favor of Benitez.

Under California law, pharmacists may refuse to dispense “morning after” pills to women who have had unprotected sex as long as another pharmacist is available to fill the prescription.

The case is North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group v. Benitez, Case No. S142892.

It will be interesting to watch. If you can discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs, how about racial or cultural problems with a patient? Working in favor of the doctors is the fact that this is not a life-threatening medical issue and the availability of alternative doctors. Quite a year for the California Supreme Court.

For the full story, click here.

9 thoughts on “California Supreme Court Takes Historic Lawsuit by Lesbian Against Fertility Clinic”

  1. Hi Patty,

    I Can’t speak to anything other than what I said to Jay. Many besides me have noticed that christians tend to select passages (including those who claim to interpret the bible literally) and justify their actions accordingly. So it’s really my question to christians who support warmongers; what do they think “turning the other cheek to your enenmies” means? It either has a meaning or it’s one of those passages that are skipped (I guess to literalists, because god didn’t really mean that!). I think that would be a legitimate question to ask the candidates now that they’re connecting themselves to christianity so much. How does this effect their foreign policy?

    I don’t know if I answered your question very well. My support goes out to you also.


  2. Jill, I am on your side, girlfriend, of ‘C’ourse, AND I am ‘C’urious to know what you mean by intimating your ‘C’hristian, ‘C’apital ‘C’,
    interpretation of “turning the other ‘C’heek, as it were”…

  3. I did paint with too large a brush and that is wrong. But I think you were making many more points in what you said than that and you aren’t answering my questions about morality and conscience. I really get exasperated that so much of what passes for morality is all about controlling women. I really would be interested to hear your thoughts on all the other issues I mentioned above.



  4. Jill

    My only point to you is that labeling “christians” this or that is no more helpful to serious dialogue than me labeling “liberals” this or that. You paint with a broad brush which is disingenuous to all people of sincere Christian faith and belief.

  5. Jay,

    I want to explain why I feel religionists believe that being a christian means little more than the control of women’s bodies. I’m not arguing that there are moral issues involved, there are. I’m not saying these issues are simple to resolve.

    I do not see religionists christian practioners examining the morality of how they view women. I do not see them apply the same principals in ethically similar cases. For example, how many religionist pharmacists refused to dispense vioxx when it was clearly known to kill some people? If a pharamcist knows the scientific information on a medicine is clear, why don’t they, out of deep religious conscience, refuse to dispense? Why do doctors help the cheney/bush govt. engage in torture? Why isn’t that an issue of conscience that brings religionist christians to the street. Doesn’t that conflict with Jesus saying, turn the other cheek to your enemies? Why the selective reading of the bible?

    Where is the religious conscience concerning social injustice? If poor and middle class people are refused needed medications because they cannont pay, why aren’t these same people engaging in mass protest over that fact?

    Is the Bible only concerned with women’s bodies? Aren’t there many passages concerning Jesus and the poor? Why aren’t those passages taken seriously? I want to know why these profound moral issues simply do not matter to religionists.



  6. Hello Jay,

    I read and reread the additional information and I didn’t see anywhere that Ms.Benieteze had lied about being a lesbian. The fraud I was refereing to was on the part of the clinic. If it did not tell the insurance company up front, before any contracts were signed, who their list of “untreatables” was then they may have committed fraud by accepting payment from the insurance company. If the insurance company had known this company would refuse to treat so many women due to their lack of being properly acceptable to the relgious ideology of the clinic owners, then perhaps the insurance company would have chosen a clinic with a different, more open. vison of what constituted relgious beliefs–not every religion says it is wrong for unmarried women to have children, or conversely, use birthcontrol. The insurance carrier and each patient of that clinic had a right to know up front what the religious beliefs of the owners where in so far as they would impinge on treatment. The owners failure to make clear their belief that only women who are married and heterosexual are worthy of treatment is immoral and possibly illegal/fraudulent. There are many people of the book who do not agree with the unworthiness of unmarried and/or lesbian women to recieve these medical services, so this is not just an issue between religious and secular people.


  7. Contracts are voidable due to fraud. If Ms. Benitez lied about the reasons she sought treatment knowing that the medical group would not otherwise treat her, then the medical group has every right to void the agreement.

    Furthermore, prohibiting free exercise of religion and conscience is a critical issue here.

    And Jill, I cannot help noticing that being liberal means little besides making certain that all individuals are under the control of the government.

  8. “The North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group treated Guadalupe Benitez, of Oceanside, with fertility drugs for roughly a year. However, when they learned that she was a lesbian, they refused on religious grounds to inseminate her.”

    This thing screams ESTOPPEL more than First Amendment.

    Defendant made Plaintiff commit to a regimen of fertility drugs for an entire year.

    Seems to me there’s a lot more here than a First Amendment issue.

    Breach of Contract by conduct, any number of emotion related tort causes of action; however I don’t think the facts would sustain an action in fraud (in lieu of breach of contract –i.e. since breach of contract and fraud are contradictory causes of action) since the discovery of “her sexual orientation” seems to negate an intent to deceive.

    That’s my two cents.



  9. Again, I cannot help noticing that being christian means little besides making certain that women’s bodies/lives are under the control of others.

    Did the clinic have patients sign a notice of all the women it will not treat before therapy was initated? Did they have a list of “untreatables” promonintly posted before anyone took all the time and massive doses of potentially quite dangerous hormones fertility clinics dole out to help with pregnancy? If not, can they be sued for malpractice? If they did not present the same information to the insurance carrier, so that the carrier might have covered another clinic instead, is this a case of insurance fraud?

    (As an aside, it is my opinion that another wave of malpractice suits will be opening up as women who took the massive injections of hormones in these clinics start to show problems such as those with HRT.)

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