Two Sides to Every Story – rayofsunshine

The oppressive story of the rejection of Bay Windsor Contreras by their pediatrician shows the systematic refusal of acceptance for anyone who is outside the “norm” of our society. Bay Contreras’s mothers (a lesbian couple) showed up for a wellness check-up of their 6 day old daughter only to be told that their scheduled pediatrician, Dr. Vesna Roi, would not be able to take on their child as a patient because of her personal religious beliefs that did not allow her to accept their lifestyle as a lesbian couple. The mothers, understandably, were shocked and horrified by this, as are many people in learning about this event.

A few months following this humiliating experience, the mothers received a letter of apology from Dr. Roi that contained a number of noteworthy things. The doctor states in the letter that she “should have spoken with [them] directly” (Myfoxdetroit.com) rather than not coming into the office for fear of encountering these mothers after making her decision. This doctor acted in a very cowardly, unprofessional way regarding her decision to not take on their child as a patient, and even though she apologized, it does not erase her actions. Furthermore, she also states that “after much prayer…I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients” (Myfoxdetroit.com).  It is important to note that the sexual orientation of the parents of her patient was the problem, not the patient herself. Seeing as the patient was only 6 days old, and much too young to be able to express any sexual orientation, there was no reason for the doctor to be uncomfortable regarding the child (Myfoxdetroit). This aspect of the situation is ridiculous; if this child had been presented to her as the child of a heterosexual couple, there would probably have not been any problems.

Furthermore, one of the most hypocritical points of this doctor’s letter is that she states that “I believe that God gives us free choice and I would never judge anyone based on what they do with that free choice” (Myfoxdetroit.com). Although she says she would not judge someone based on their lifestyle choices, she refuses to treat their child due to the sexuality of her patients, which seems as if she is casting a judgement on the family due to the non-traditional style of their family. Furthermore, she is insinuating that sexuality is a choice and not an innate part of someone.

There are evidently many issues surrounding this entire story. However, I believe it is important to look at all sides of a story before forming a personal opinion. The doctor, although she acted unprofessionally in this situation, felt that the combination of her religion and her profession could not allow her to treat this patient. Some religious people are fundamentalists, and hold “a belief in the literal word of the Bible [or other holy document] as a document without error” (Aulette and Wittner, 476). Someone’s religion can be as defining as any other aspects of who they are; if the doctor follows the historic laws of her religion, which may suggest that homosexuality is wrong, then her actions regarding this situation could be understood. This raises many questions; is it morally right or wrong to ask someone to engage with someone else who practices a lifestyle completely opposing to their beliefs? Is it right or wrong to ask someone to separate their religious life style from their professional lifestyle, when both are important parts of who they are?

Finally, I also believe the doctor did make the right choice if she truly believed that it would be challenging for her to form a relationship with this family due to the sexuality of the mothers. It is safe to assume that any mother would want the best health care possible for their child. This does not mean that Dr. Roi was morally correct in her decision, or that the way she handled the situation was right, but it is presenting the doctor’s point of view in this situation.

In our society, binary constructs are being challenged, and fortunately, often disregarded because of awareness about situations similar to this one. But why is it that the American Medical Association states that “doctors can refuses treatment if it’s incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs” (Myfoxdetroit.com)? Why is there a movement to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which “would allow people to discriminate based on their moral or religious beliefs” (Myfoxdetroit.com)? Why is our society constantly fearing the unfamiliar, so much so that it allows people to professionally discriminate because of their own personal beliefs? Our society is constantly taking steps forward, only to take a step backwards when we allow situations like this to take place. It should be straightforward that we should all love and respect one another, despite differences in beliefs and sexuality. These kinds of situations force everyone to have pattern recognition for the people who are experiencing discrimination (in this case, a lesbian couple), and the types of people who are oppressing them (in this case, a (presumably straight, cis-gendered) female of a high-class profession) that are shown time and time again.

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print.

Myfoxdetroit.com,. ‘Doctor Refuses Treatment Of Same-Sex Couple’s Baby’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.

-rayofsunshine

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7 thoughts on “Two Sides to Every Story – rayofsunshine

  1. Fantastic Review! I really appreciate that you kept the review objective as religion can be become a heated topic. I also like how you presented both sides of the story. First, the side of the couple and how they felt humiliated and secondly, the side of the doctor who may have been morally wrong but was choosing the best choice in her opinion based on her beliefs. You ask a lot of thought-provoking questions and society has trouble answering these questions. As a non-religious person I can not say whether it is right or wrong to ask someone to separate their religious life style from their professional lifestyle but I believe it is a difficult choice to make and that the doctor should not be completely attacked by hatred and disgust as this is a societal problem many people face but is rarely mentions.
    -Secretlybatman

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    1. Thank you for the positive review! I am glad you were able to understand the importance of seeing both sides of this issue. I really like how you said it is a societal problem (which I definitely agree with!) and furthermore that many people face it although people don’t talk about it. I think it is important to talk about issues like this that people avoid talking about, and to talk about them from first an objective point of view, to really see the entire situation and many lights. I really appreciate your feedback! -rayofsunshine

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  2. I enjoyed your review and I thought it was commendable that you presented this information in a way that analyzes both sides of the story. I feel as though I had a bit more of an in-depth understanding into her side of the story and her intentions making her less of the “bad guy” or villainous character in this instance. I do not, by any means, agree with her justification for not treating her patients, but that may just be because I identify as an agnostic and therefore am not at all religious, but I feel like I can sort of sympathize with Dr. Roi to an extent.
    You posed a lot of questions that are very difficult to answer and I would like to know more about your opinion on the limitations one should place on their personal, religious beliefs in a professional setting, or whether they should not be limited at all. Even I find myself conflicted in this sense because religion is such a large part of people’s live and like you said, a part of their identity, so are they supposed to limit that, the same way their identity sometimes asks other people to limit their lives? It’s all very complicated and even though we are talking about two very different things in the case of one’s sexual orientation and one’s religious beliefs it’s still difficult to all live cohesively when so many aspects constantly conflict.
    Your post made me think very critically and I’m fairly certain I’m going to be left with a thinking crease, and forehead wrinkles for the rest of my life, so you definitely did your job right! Thank you and great work!

    – MasalaCHICKen

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  3. Thanks so much! I am really glad I was able to present something new to you, and make you think on the topic. I also find it really interesting that because you are not religious, you were able to identify with her nonetheless!
    To give you some context about my beliefs: As a Christian, I understand living by the Word of God, in which it does condemn homosexuality as a sin, explicitly in the Old Testament. However, I do not agree with that, as I also believe God made us all in His image and that He does not make mistakes, and I cannot fathom why God would purposely make someone that way, with the idea that them living out their life would lead them to being condemned. Furthermore, to answer your question about my opinion I think it is important to separate one’s personal life from one’s professional life. Both religion and sexuality are, in my opinion, equally important in someone’s life and important to their identity, however there is a difference because unlike sexuality, following a religion and submitting to the rules and beliefs is a choice. God invites us to have a relationship with Him, but it is our choice to pursue Him and to live out his word. Therefore it is important to be non judgmental and accepting in a professional light, even if it contradicts your personal beliefs.
    Finally, there is a really interesting video, by a Christian, explaining the go-to verses that people (Christians specifically) generally use to explain why homosexuality is a sin, and how Christians are misinterpreting the verses. I believe it is very interesting, and I think you may find it very interesting as well.
    http://www.upworthy.com/there-are-6-scriptures-about-homosexuality-in-the-bible-heres-what-they-really-say?g=2&fb_ref=Default
    Look into it if you are interested! I am really glad to see such a constructive and positive response to my post!
    -rayofsunshine

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  4. I appreciate how you took both perspectives into consideration. It is true that the focus is mostly on how she rejected these ladies for their sexuality, but your point is also valid where you say that we should also take into consideration the doctor’s point of view. But I also like how you don’t fully justify the doctor’s action. Her beliefs are her beliefs and she should do as much as her faith will allow her. The most important point that I agree with is on how the AMA allows doctors to reject treating a patient. For many years, doctors have been taking an oath that says they will treat every patient to the best of their abilities.

    I really liked the video you posted as well in the comment section. It is true that people still misinterpret writings that were written over a 1000 years ago. The guy in the video explains the writings in both testaments in a positive way that contradicts almost every view that we used to have on same sex marriage; views interpreted from past readings of the bible.

    Overall I really liked your post
    -mejicanluis

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  5. Thanks for the positive review! I am also glad you watched the video; I think the guy does a great job explaining his interpretation of those passages.
    It is true that doctors have been and still do take an oath saying they will treat their patients to the best of their abilities; and my question is does she feel like her patient’s parents personal life will affect her interaction with the patient? If so, then maybe she had a valid point. If she is just uncomfortable, well…alot of people are uncomfortable with things, but avoiding them in a cowardly way is not a good way to deal with that discomfort.
    Thank you for the review!
    -rayofsunshine

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  6. I love that you gave both sides of this story. I do agree that the doctor was within her rights by denying treatment but I guess it is concerning that our society keeps fluctuating between trying to become accepting but also pushing people apart. I think this shows that to please everyone is maybe impossible? It seems difficult to have everyone be happy when by making one group happy you make another group sad. Tough decisions eh?
    Great blog! 😀

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