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May Doctors Refuse Infertility Treatments to Gay Patients?
One of the most sacrosanct principles of medical practice in the United States is that physicians have a right to choose their own patients as long as the patient is not in a medical emergency. However, this sort of physician autonomy is not without certain limits. No physician or hospital receiving government funding, including Medicare and Medicaid, may discriminate against potential patients on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, and many states have expanded these protections to cover gender and sexual orientation. What remains unclear is whether physicians with bona fide religious objections to treating certain patients are exempt from these proscriptions. A California case, currently on appeal before a state court, may soon decide the matter.
One of the most sacrosanct principles of medical practice in the United States is that physicians have a right to choose their own patients as long as the patient is not in a medical emergency. However, this sort of physician autonomy is not without certain limits. No physician or hospital receiving government funding, including Medicare and Medicaid, may discriminate against potential patients on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, and many states have expanded these protections to cover gender and sexual orientation. What remains unclear is whether physicians with bona fide religious objections to treating certain patients are exempt from these proscriptions. A California case, currently on appeal before a state court, may soon decide the matter.
Jacob M. Appel, “May Doctors Refuse Infertility Treatments to Gay Patients?” Hastings Center Report 36, no. 4 (2006): 20-21.