CMA To Reconsider Brief in Support of Physicians Declining To Provide Fertility Treatment
California Medical Association officials are expected to discuss on Monday the potential withdrawal of the group's appellate court brief supporting the position of physicians at the North Coast Women's Care Medical Group who cited religious beliefs in declining to artificially inseminate a lesbian woman, according to a CMA spokesperson, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. CMA in May filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the physicians' right to argue in court that they should not be required to treat Guadalupe Benitez because inseminating an unmarried woman contradicted their religious convictions.
However, CMA changed its position on Friday when officials learned that a physician in the case had testified under oath that she would not inseminate "a gay couple," according to CMA spokesperson Peter Warren. "We're re-examining (our brief) based on additional facts that came to light," Warren said, adding, "The important thing is for us to make the right decision here and determine whether to be involved in the case."
CMA's executive committee is expected to discuss the issue at a meeting on Monday in Sacramento, Warren said.
CMA officials said they were "unaware" of a November 2001 statement from Dr. Christine Brody, Benitez's physician, that cited Benitez's sexual orientation as the reason for Brody's refusal to provide the treatment, the Chronicle reports.
Brody said, "I specifically informed Ms. Benitez on the initial visit that if her fertility treatment progressed to the point where intrauterine insemination was the next recommended step, it was against my religious beliefs to actually perform (the procedure) for a gay couple" (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/2).