A 14-year-old girl says a Catholic medical clinic in Ann Arbor, Michigan denied her mental health care for her ADHD after learning of her transgender status. Tiffinny Moutardier and her mother, Jean Oorbeck, claim that a doctor at Emmaus Health Partners told them he couldn’t care for her due to the clinic’s “religious affiliation.” Here’s how the events took place.
Jean Oorbeck, Tiffinny’s mother, said she made an appointment for her daughter at Emmaus Health Partners in Ann Arbor seeking treatment for the teen’s ADHD symptoms.
Tiffinny, as an honor roll student with a packed schedule, juggles music, art and sports.
Recently she and her parents had wondered whether she might have ADHD.
Oorbeck explained Tiffinny’s possible ADHD symptoms: “She makes stations for herself at home, moving from one to the next throughout the day. And she makes what Tiffinny describes as “funny noises” to help herself focus or self-soothe.”
In May, her mother made an appointment at a local clinic, Emmaus Health Partners.
It offered mental health care, accepted their insurance, and many of the online reviews were glowing.
But it was only when they arrived that she realized it was a Catholic Clinic. “I noticed a lot of paintings on the wall, and they were all very religious,” Tiffinny said.
At the appointment, before her examination, she gave her medical history to the doctor’s assistant, including the fact that she took estrogen.
She was then seen by Dr. Scott Waclawik, a family medicine physician, who, after a cursory examination, asked to speak with Tiffinny’s mom privately.
We Don’t Feel Comfortable
Oorbeck said that he reminded her Emmaus is a religious health clinic, and told her, “‘We don’t feel comfortable with Tiffinny’s presence in our office.’”
We Don’t See Transgender Patients
He continued “I don’t think we have the means to help what seems to be such an extreme case of ADHD.” He then declared “‘We don’t see transgendered patients in this clinic,” Jean said.
Denied Medical Care
Outraged, Oorbeck accused him of denying her daughter medical care.
Oorbeck and Tiffinny filed a complaint with Michigan’s Department of Civil Rights.
But even after the expansion of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act in March to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, there’s still a big unanswered question: Will religious medical providers be allowed to claim exemptions from the law, and refuse care to transgender patients?
This is yet to be tested in the court.
Denial from the Clinic
The clinic denies the allegation. “We do not discriminate against patients based on gender identity nor do we refuse to provide care,” the clinic’s executive director said in an emailed statement.
Reddit and X Reactions Were Mixed
Social media users were passionate in their responses and clearly voiced their opinions and beliefs.
A Reddit reader posted “When you look at it from a purely technical standpoint, religions have the same rules and coding as cults”
Religion Is for Personal Life
One person said, “That should be outlawed. There should be no religion in hospitals, government offices, or schools. Religions should be for personal life only.” another exclaimed.
Jesus Would Not Approve
On X (formerly Twitter) a user reacted “Jesus would not approve. Bigotry of any kind is un-Christian.”
“God Loves Us As We Are”
They added, “This clinic is run by bigots and hateful people. The Pope tells transgender youths the Lord accepts them. God loves us as we are!!!” was another response on X.
However, not all opinions were supportive of the family. “Good. She’s too young.” was a user’s opinion on X.
The opposition continued, with further thoughts voiced on X “Trans kids are not a thing. Crazy parents are a thing.”
Transgender people have long experienced discrimination from the health care system.
According to a 2021 poll from the Center for American Progress, half of all transgender respondents said they’d experienced “mistreatment or discrimination” from a health provider in the past year.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mar Fernandez. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source: US Today