Friday, September 22, 2006

License To Discriminate

The Advocate reports on a civil rights lawsuit being considered by California's high court which has been filed by a lesbian denied fertility treatment:

The California supreme court on Wednesday took briefings in an appeal brought by the gay advocacy group Lambda Legal concerning a lesbian who was denied infertility treatment by her San Diego County doctors because of her sexuality. Despite California’s civil rights law, the doctors say they have the right to not offer the treatment because of their religious beliefs.

Libertarians always honor freedom of association, which includes freedom to choose to discriminate in provisioning services. However, we also oppose cumbersome and intrusive licensing practices which restrict the number of medical professionals who can qualify to provide services in the first place.

Religious-right doctors seem to want it both ways -- free-market style freedom to refuse to treat gays "based on religious beliefs," but heavy government regulation restricting new entrants into the medical profession to protect their revenues. With the approach to health care advocated by the Libertarian Party, we'd have more doctors, lesbians would be able to easily find fertility treatments if their existing doctors refused to provision them, and religious-right doctors would quickly find their businesses collapsing as consumers seek a medical professional who bases his or her services on science and patient priorities, not religious politics.