- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

A lesbian couple is upset after they say a Michigan doctor refused to treat their newborn because of her religious beliefs.

Krista and Jami Contreras, who married in Vermont in 2012, welcomed Bay Windsor Contreras into the world in October. After being recommended by their midwife, the couple made an appointment for their baby with Dr. Vesna Roi at Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, a local Fox affiliate reported.

But when the Contreras family arrived for their appointment, a different doctor greeted them.

“The first thing Dr. Karam said was, ‘I’ll be your doctor. I’ll be seeing you today, because Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay,’” Jami told the news station. “Dr. Karam told us she didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.”

The new mothers said they went through with the appointment with Dr. Karam, but then found a different doctor for their child.

“When we started calling other pediatricians, my first thing on the phone was, ‘We’re lesbian moms — is this OK with you?’” Krista said.

The Fox affiliate notes that there are no laws in Michigan that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families from discrimination.

The American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to treat patients based on sexual orientation, but says they can refuse a specific treatment sought by an individual that is incompatible with their personal, religious, or moral beliefs.

“It was embarrassing, it was humiliating and here we are, new parents trying to protect her,” Jami said. “And we know this happens in the world and we’re completely prepared for this to happen other places. But not at our 6-day-old’s wellness appointment.”

The Contreras’ story gained traction after they shared it on social media, prompting a letter from Dr. Roi on Feb. 9, nearly four months after the appointment, the Fox affiliate reported.

“After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that i would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients,” Dr. Roi wrote.

She apologizes, saying, “I should have spoken with you directly that day,” and “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,” the Fox affiliate reported.

Dr. Roi would not speak to the press, citing patient privacy laws.

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