Doctors allowed to use religious beliefs as defense

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 2, 2006

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A California appellate court last month ruled that two physicians can use religious beliefs as a defense in a case involving a woman who said the ob-gyns stopped treating her because of her sexual orientation.

The case involves patient Guadalupe Benitez, who filed a lawsuit in 2001 alleging that doctors at North Coast Women's Care Medical Group Inc. in Vista, Calif., refused to artificially inseminate her due to their religious beliefs. Benitez said she was treated at the clinic for infertility, but doctors refused to continue seeing her when she told one of them she was a lesbian, according to court records.

In her lawsuit, Benitez claims that the doctors discriminated against her. A lower court judge ruled that the physicians could not use religious beliefs as a defense. But on the doctors' appeal, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One disagreed, ruling that their religious beliefs was a viable defense.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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