Jehovah’s Witnesses vs. blood transfusion: Teen takes fight to top

A teenage girl’s battle for the right to refuse blood transfusions continues.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada released a statement saying it would review the case of the Winnipeg girl, a Jehovah’s Witness, who sought to refuse blood transfusions.

Jehovah’s Witnesses object to transfusions because they interpret some biblical passages as outlawing them.

The girl, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, was taken to hospital April 16, 2006, when she was 14, for internal bleeding.

Excerpt from the video “Witnesses of Jehovah,” a Christian documentary that exposes the errors of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

After she refused transfusions, hospital staff contacted Child and Family Services.

At a subsequent hearing, a judge ruled she was in danger of death or serious harm and ordered the hospital be allowed to treat her. The girl then received transfusions and recovered.

She later appealed the lower court ruling that would allow doctors to order transfusions without her consent. The girl sought a court order deeming her a “mature minor” in charge of her own decisions.

In front of the three Court of Appeal justices, debate concerned a section of the Child and Family Services Act that allows the agency to intervene on behalf of minors under 16 years of age.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood

“[T]he Jehovah’s Witnesses organization prohibits the use of blood transfusions. Individual Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to die or let their children die, rather than break this command, even though the Scriptures nowhere teach that blood transfusions are wrong.”
Four Dangers of the Jehovah’s Witness Organization

Child and Family Services opposed the girl’s appeal. In February 2007, Justice Freda Steel spoke for the Manitoba appeal court regarding its 49-page decision.

Steel said although forced medical treatment may be an infringement of one’s Charter rights, it is not contrary to the principles of justice.

“When children are treated differently than adults … this is not discriminatory as understood by the charter. Age-based distinctions are a common and necessary way of ordering society,” said Steel in the decision.

A date has not been set yet for the Supreme Court of Canada’s hearing.

In its notice released today, it gives mention to considering whether aspects of The Child and Family Services Act in Manitoba are “unconstitutional.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday October 27, 2007.
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