Skip to main content.
A non-profit service providing academics, religion professionals and other researchers with religion & cult news

Religion news articles about religious cults, sects, world religions, and related issues

Home | About RNB Related: Cult FAQ | Cult Experts | Apologetics Index | Cult Information Search Engine
More articles about: Jehovah's Witnesses:

High court refuses appeal by Jehovah’s Witness

The Edmonton Journal, Canada
Sep. 21, 2003
Rick Pedersen • Tuesday September 23, 2003

Ethicist says girl had right to refuse blood transfusions

EDMONTON – The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal from a young Jehovah’s Witness who at age 16 had a court-ordered blood transfusion against her wishes.

Candice Unland of Morinville, who turns 21 next week, said the decision is very disappointing, but she predicted the issue will not die.

“Eventually the court is going to have to face it,” she said Saturday.

Unland’s lawyer, Shane Brady, said the Supreme Court hears fewer than 15 per cent of all appeals and never explains why it does not hear cases.

The Charter of Rights clearly gives an 18-year-old patient the right to refuse a transfusion. Unland’s appeal would have argued that a mature 16-year-old has the same Charter protection, Brady said. The problem was that the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to hear this argument, and the Alberta government opposed the Unland appeal, saying an issue not before the provincial appeal court should not be raised at the Supreme Court.

Brady said another case may one day raise this Charter issue at the Supreme Court.

Two prominent medical experts filed affidavits with the Supreme Court arguing Unland should not have been compelled to have a blood transfusion when she was 16.

The court-ordered transfusion contradicted a key principle of the medical ethics, which gives mature minors the right to decide what medical treatments they will receive unless their competence is compromised, University of Alberta bioethicist Dr. Paul Byrne said.

This principle applies to capable minors as well as adults, agreed Dr. Austin Richard Cooper, chairman of pediatrics at Memorial University and chief of the child health program at Newfoundland’s Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre.

Lower Alberta courts acknowledged Unland was a mature minor, but decided the child welfare law permitted a judge to order a transfusion.

Unland said she didn’t want a transfusion during her operation to stop excessive menstrual bleeding because she believes the Bible does not allow one person to take blood from another. She also feared catching a blood-borne disease such hepatitis or AIDS.

Unland has also continued her fight in support of Bethany Hughes, a Calgary Jehovah’s Witness who died of leukemia last year at 17 after an unsuccessful court battle to refuse the 38 transfusions she received during cancer treatment. Hughes had also argued she was a mature minor when she tried to stop the transfusions.

info Original content is © Copyright Religion News Blog. All rights reserved.
    Do not republish or repost. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

share this article Share this article

tag Related Articles


Comment Comment

Join Religion News Blog at Google+ to comment, share, and follow.

RSS Feed Follow Us


Religion News You May Like This As Well

Religion News Search Search Religion News Blog