A lesbian couple is claiming that they were discriminated against when a doctor refused to treat their infant daughter last fall, releasing a letter of apology that they say the doctor sent them earlier this month.
Dr. Vesna Roi, 49, at Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, Michigan, reportedly refused to see the couple's baby daughter after having previously agreed to care for the child, the couple claim.
Krista and Jami Contreras interviewed numbers doctors before finding Roi, whom they met with one time before arriving at their first appointment last October. But when they reached the office with their six-day old daughter, Bay Windsor Contreras, they were surprised when another doctor emerged to tell them that Roi had a change-of-heart, according to the Detroit Free Press.
"I was completely dumbfounded. We just looked at each other and said, 'Did we hear that correctly?'" Krista Contreras told the outlet. "When we tell people about it, they don't believe us. They say, '(Doctors) can't do that. That's not legal.' And we say, 'Yes it is.'"
Jami Contreras said that the situation was "humiliating" and "wrong" and the couple say they are speaking out in an effort to educate people about the challenges that gays and lesbians face.
"You're discriminating against a baby?" she said. "It's just wrong.
Roi, who cited privacy laws, told the Detroit Free Press that she could not speak openly about the case, but did note that she it committed to the care of children.
The family was referred to another doctor in the practice.
And in an apology letter that the Contreras family says it received from the doctor, Roi does not mention their sexual orientation as the reason that she refused to care for their child, though she wrote that she did not feel she could adequately connect with the two mothers.
"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," Roi wrote, according to a copy of the letter provided to the outlet. "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 doctor also apologized on the letter, dated February 9, for not telling the couple in person about her decision not to care for their baby.
"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 letter continued. "Again, I am very sorry for the hurt and angry feelings that were created by this. I hope that you can accept my apology."
The Contreras know that the doctor didn't violate the law, as Michigan does not include gays and lesbians in anti-discrimination laws, but they are hoping that others can be protected from the embarrassment they felt. Read more about the story here.
(H/T: The Detroit Free Press)