Canada: Teen asks Supreme Court to strike down law that forced blood transfusion

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court reserved judgment today in a case that pits a teenage Jehovah’s Witness against the government’s right to force medical treatment.

Lawyers for the young woman asked the court to overturn a Manitoba child welfare law that forced her to have a blood transfusion against her religious principles.

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

The province acted under legislation that sets the cut-off age at 16 for medical decision-making – a provision which her lawyers say violated the teen’s constitutional rights.

The case could have far-reaching implications because several other provinces have laws setting 16 as a legal benchmark in such cases, and some set the cut-off point as high as 19.

The girl, now 16 and living in Ontario, was 14 when she was hospitalized in Winnipeg in 2006 with a flare-up of Crohn’s disease – a chronic illness that can cause gastrointestinal bleeding.

She insisted on being treated without transfusion, but Manitoba Child and Family Services obtained a court order compelling her to have the procedure after it was recommended by her doctor.

Her lawyers argued that decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis according to the intellectual capability of the young person involved – not according to an arbitrary age scale.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday May 20, 2008.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at