The newborn baby of a Michigan couple has been refused as a patient by a pediatrician, because the baby’s parents are lesbians, according to the couple. Jami and Krista Contreras discovered that the pediatrician they were hoping for refused to take their baby on as a patient, simply because the baby’s parents are lesbians. Dr. Vesna Roi, DO specializes in pediatrics and works with two other doctors at a practice in Roseville, Michigan, according to the practice’s website.
Dr. Roi said that the decision was made after “much prayer.”
The couple didn’t learn of the news from the pediatrician though, they learned of it from another pediatrician at Eastlake Pediatrics, according to AJC. At their child Bay’s newborn well check, Dr. Melinda Karam greeted the family instead of the pediatrician they had hand-picked and previously met. Dr. Karam allegedly told the couple, “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.”
The new mothers said that they felt shocked and humiliated.
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The pediatrician told the Detroit Free Press that she couldn’t comment on the issue of refusing the lesbian couple’s baby as a patient because of the HIPPA privacy law. According to the Contreras couple, the pediatrician gave them a letter to explain her position for denying their baby. According to the letter, the pediatrician felt it was in the best interests of the child’s healthcare.
The pediatrician expressed an apology saying that she didn’t mean to hurt the couple, and explained without mentioning the fact that they are lesbians, why she made the decision to refuse to take care of their baby.
“Dear Jami & Krista, I am writing this letter of apology as I feel that it is important and necessary. I never meant to hurt either of you. After much prayer following your prenatal (visit), I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient doctor relationship that I normally do with my patients.”
The pediatrician did not explain what caused her to feel that she could not develop a “personal patient doctor relationship,” but the couple thinks they know why. The pediatrician expressed her regret for not telling the couple in person about her decision, but stated in the letter from February 9 that she didn’t see them personally to explain her refusal because she didn’t want to spoil the excitement of the first newborn baby visit. She also claimed that she doesn’t judge the women.
“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. Again, I am very sorry for the hurt and angry feelings that were created by this. I hope that you can accept my apology.”
On Facebook, the practice has been blasted by public scrutiny, though some of Dr. Roi’s patients’ parents have spoken up for her arguing that she always has her patients’ best interests at heart.
The Contreras couple said that they realize that in Michigan, it is perfectly legal for the pediatrician to refuse to take care of their baby regularly simply because they are lesbians. While 22 other states have laws on the book to prevent discrimination against lesbians or any member of the LGBTQ community by doctors, according to the couple, Michigan is not one of them.
[Photo adapted from Pixabay and Eastlake Pediatrics’ website]