It’s supposed to be about the baby

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She thought she was doing the right thing. It must have been a matter of conscious, but as often happens, Vesna Roi’s decision was the result of failing to reconcile conflicting paradigms.

Roi, a pediatrician in Detroit decided not to treat a newborn because her parents are gay. She made the decision, according to the Detroit Free Press, after “much prayer.” Let’s think about that. Roi prayed, presumably to a loving and benevolent God, who whispered to her she should not treat the infant, who had done nothing more than enter the world.

Or did Roi really pray?

Perhaps, instead, Roi, spoke to herself and reflected on her own view of what society’s moral code should be.

It seems Roi let her personal paradigm about sexuality take priority over the paradigm that comes with the practice of medicine. Physicians are supposed to heal and care for patients. Physicians are supposed to improve the lives of others. Passing moral judgment isn’t part of the job.

Roi was more concerned about the life style of the infant’s parents, Jami and Krista Contreras, than she was about the infant. Her paradigm about sexuality and family got in the way of the paradigm that comes with practicing medicine.  In simple terms, it’s not about Roi. It’s about the baby.

Presumably, Roi thought the infant’s two mothers were the wrong kind of parents and forgot about their humanity, as well as the infant’s. Jamie and Krista were simply doing what mothers do, loving and taking care of their infant, but Roi turned away the infant because her parents are gay.

What happened to the Contrerases is what often happens to gays and people associated with them. All some people can see in others is their sexuality, and so they treat gays differently, as if being gay means a person is less of a person and not entitled to the same treatment as everyone else.

The inner paradigm that guided Roi is irrelevant. We have the right to declare for ourselves how we want to live, but we don’t have the right to impose our moral code on the gay community and treat gays differently. When we give into these types of paradigms, we create a fragmented society.

Perhaps Roi doesn’t realize she is out of step with her own professional association. The American Academy of Pediatricians holds that “A growing body of scientific literature reveals that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents will develop emotionally, cognitively, socially, and sexually as well as children whose parents are heterosexual. Parents’ sexual orientation is much less important than having loving and nurturing parents.”

Roi gave this statement to Detroit’s WXYZ Channel 7: “Much of what has been circulated in the media and publicly has been taken out of context or is untrue. As a doctor I’m constrained by patient privacy concerns and may not further comment on this matter at this time. I’m a born-again Christian who believes that God loves all people as do I. I wish nothing but the best for Jami, Krista and baby.”

Roi’s statement about privacy is intriguing, for she never got to the point of establishing a physician-patient relationship. As for her comment that she loves all people, I suppose Roi is saying that you can love all people, but it’s okay to treat some differently. That’s an odd sort of love, isn’t it?


Jack D’Aurora writes for


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  1. steve adams  February 23, 2015

    Be careful Jack…sound’s like you are “passing moral judgement” as well.

  2. Roy Smith  February 23, 2015

    Jack, thanks for the article, very powerful. It really got me to thinking, especially about not passing moral judgment.
    So true that children suffer because of their parents or how people perceive their parents and of course the children
    are often voiceless.
    Last week the article about what is a good time to deliver bad news made me think of how many children are exploited in human trafficking situations daily and now we don’t want to offend those watching their favorite event.
    I’m not saying slap the viewers in the face, however the Super Bowl in some respects is superficial in comparison.
    That’s from someone who watches lots of football.

  3. miriam rafferty  February 26, 2015

    If you read the doctor’s published apology letter she states that she regrets not speaking to the couple first. That was her big mistake. If she had a heart to heart talk with those women about how her religious convictions might alter the patient doctor relationship, this may have not been a huge issue for them. In her mind she felt it was best for someone else that could better serve the baby and her caregivers. In medicine it is not just about treating “the baby”. A doctor takes on the burden of the entire family to meet their psychological and social needs I think that it was a good idea for her to pass the needs of this family on to another doctor that could better serve them. Had she spoken to them first, the couple may have realized it was in their best interest to have another doc anyway. After all, most of us choose a doctor and if we have any breakdown in communication or if there is a difference of opinion about how we should be treated, we move on.


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