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Molecules to Medicine: "Conscience" Clauses versus Refusal: An Historical Perspective

March 20, 2012, 9:09 am by Scientific American: Health

The struggle between conscience and refusal, or individual rights vs. that of the community good, goes far back, and is not limited to reproductive choices. It also forms the foundation of civil rights rulings prohibiting discrimination and segregation, and discrimination based on race or religion. Unfortunately, there are still ongoing battles regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation.In Benitez, Doctors at the North Coast Women s Care Medical Group denied Ms Benitez infertility treatment because she is a lesbian, claiming that their personal conservative Christian beliefs gave them a right to withhold care that they routinely provide to heterosexual patients. The California Supreme Court issued a unanimous, landmark decision that lesbians are entitled to the same treatment as other patients and that constitutional protections for religious liberty do not excuse unlawful discrimination. [More]

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