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

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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.

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Canadian Press, via 680News.com, Canada
May 20, 2008
www.680news.com

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This post was last updated: Dec. 16, 2016