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Fertility Treatment Case Begins in Denver

November 12, 2003

DENVER (AP) _ A woman who accuses a clinic of denying fertility treatments because she is blind testified Wednesday that she felt humiliated when doctors refused to help her become pregnant.

Kijuana Chambers, 33, testified at the start of her trial in federal court that doctors at the Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Care Center performed four rounds of artificial insemination in 1999 but stopped when she refused to hire an occupational therapist to evaluate the safety of her home.

``I felt like a little girl who just got disciplined for doing wrong or not having the right answers,″ Chambers said.

Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, claiming the clinic violated the American with Disabilities Act.

She said she always wanted a child but it had seemed impossible because she is a lesbian. Chambers found another clinic to do the procedure and gave birth to a daughter, Laurina, on Jan. 1, 2001.

Clinic attorney Christopher Miller said doctors and nurses were simply concerned about Chambers’ ability to care for a child.

``This is not a case about discrimination or a case about blindness or a case about a blind person being a good parent,″ he said in his opening statement. ``This is a case about the ethics and moral obligation of a physician to a child he is asked to create.″

He said Chambers never paid the clinic, and nurses had a list of concerns about her including an apparent lack of hygiene.

He also described an outburst Chambers had at the clinic.

``She was cursing, `I am not pregnant,‴ Miller said. ``She was just screaming to herself with no one in there in the (exam room).″

The lawsuit was brought by the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, which says there have been few cases in which a woman was deprived of artificial insemination because of a disability.

The trial is expected to last a week.

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