Winnipeg girl in court to fight blood transfusions
Last Updated: Thursday, September 7, 2006 | 8:49 AM CT
A 15-year-old Winnipeg girl returns to a Manitoba courtroom Thursday to fight a court order that takes away her right to refuse blood transfusions.
In April, the girl, who was then 14, went to a Winnipeg hospital with a flare-up of her Crohn's disease. A Jehovah's Witness, she and her parents refused to allow a blood transfusion.
Most Jehovah's Witnesses believe a passage in the Bible forbids them from having blood transfusions, although some blood derivatives are allowed.
The province's Child and Family Services Department convinced the Court of Queen's Bench to issue an order allowing doctors to give blood transfusions or blood products "as they deem medically necessary."
Whether the girl received the blood transfusions or not at that point was never made public.
Crohn's disease is a chronic illness that affects the gastro-intestinal tract from mouth to bowel. It has no known cure, but its symptoms can be relieved by drugs or surgery.
The main issue to be debated Thursday is whether the teen should be considered a "mature minor" or be put under the wing of Child and Family Services and be forced to have the treatment when doctors deem it necessary.
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society lawyer Shane Brady, who is representing the girl in court, said his main issue is not freedom of religion, but the simple question of whether capable people, regardless of age, can make their own medical decisions without the government's intervention.
Brady told CBC News on Wednesday he is fighting the court order on the basis that it violates the girl's constitutional rights and the province's own laws.
However, some medical and legal experts, as well as some former Jehovah's Witnesses, said cases like this are more about informed consent versus coercion.
Critics said the religion asks members to sign cards saying they refuse blood transfusions, offering them a "better resurrection" if they refuse blood and die. They also charged that the movement threatens members with eternal condemnation and disassociation from the community if they do accept blood.
>>>>This makes me sick. Another brainwashed child willing to commit suicide for some senile old buggers in Brooklyn.
SHANE BRADY: You are a MURDERER.