February 5, 2007
Dear Chris Selley and the Editor:
As an advocate for many JWs who have been hurt by this organization, I just wish to say your article and comments in Macleans were great.
Thank you for noting the press release by the Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood (www.ajwrb.org ) - http://www.ajwrb.org/Press_Release_070202.pdf . You now release that not all JWs actually accept this organization’s doctrine.
A lot of people do not realize that JWs can take one hundred (100) percent of human or animal blood as long as it is in their leadership's defined fractionated form or under their leadership's approved medical procedures (www.ajwrb.org). In fact, if whole donated blood was 100 percent fractionated and then transfused completely back to the patient at the same time in its separate forms, the JW leadership would accept the procedure. Unfortunately the technique has not been mastered in the medical world to save Witness lives. On page 22 of the June 15, 2004 Watchtower magazine (official publication for the Witnesses), the leadership actually provides a chart of what is and what is not acceptable.
Oddly, the leadership also allows Witnesses to take in white blood cells from another human during the course of a baby breast feeding from the mother but bans certain life saving white blood cell transfusions from the donated blood supply. The JW leadership does not discuss allowing white blood cell transfers during breast feeding while banning white blood cell transfers through transfusion therapy. You may wish to quiz the JW leadership or spokesperson on the issue. If leadership representatives tell you that breast feeding is natural and transfusions are not natural, remind them that their own official policy found in the June 1, 1990 and June 15, 2000 Watchtower magazines allow albumin (part of plasma) transfusions because albumin “naturally” travels between fetus and mom.
This leadership has been changing their doctrine many times (http://www.ajwrb.org/history/index.shtml#modern ). In fact the leadership supported blood therapy before 1940.
Today, the leadership bases their interpretation on certain science and medicine literature. In support of its logic, the leadership sites the breakdown of blood in "Emergency Care" (a textbook for emergency medical technician students). The Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood (www.ajwrb.org ) indicate that scientifically, the breakdown is neither authoritative nor definitive. Alternatively, consider the list of major blood components as listed in Modern Blood Banking and Transfusion Practices (pages 237-248, 1999) by Denise M. Harmening, Ph.D. "Red blood cells, RBC Aliquots, Leukocyte-reduced red blood cells, frozen - deglycerolized red blood cells, platelet concentrate, single donor plasma, cryoprecipitated antihemophilic factor, granulocyte concentrates, factor VIII concentrate, porcine factor VIII, factor IX concentrate (Prothrombin Complex), immune serum globulin, normal serum albumin, plasma protein fraction, Rho(D) immunoglobulin, antithrombin III concentrate". It is noteworthy that of the sixteen major blood components listed in this definitive and widely respected textbook on transfusion medicine, nine are definitely permitted by Jehovah's Witnesses policy.
Just think about haemoglobin for a second. Ninety seven (97) percent by weight of a red blood cell (ie. haemoglobin) is allowed to be used by a JW in a medical procedure but add just three (3) more percent (ie. a membrane) and the product is banned.
You may wish to ask the leadership where in the Bible does it state red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets or plasma are not approved blood therapies but haemoglobin, albumin and the many other blood therapy products or blood transfusion therapies such as Intraoperative Autotransfusion (http://www.ajwrb.org/basics/what.shtml ) are allowed?
No one wants blood therapy if it can be avoided. But, there are times when this procedure helps to sustain life and prevent premature death as any medical doctor will tell you. Since the leadership is asking their members to make a life sacrifice or face harmful shunning by families and friends, it is important for the leadership to be honest and transparent on what they teach.
A lot of times the lawyers for the JW family (which in reality are from the Watchtower's Georgetown Ontario complex) will comment about how blood is very dangerous or that it is not medically necessary. A lot of people buy into the argument. A lot of times people including the press miss the point that blood transfusions are life saving therapies that save thousands of lives every year and that the past stored blood crisis was not caused by the blood itself but by certain individuals who decided not to properly test the blood.
If you would like to speak to a lawyer knowledgeable on the subject please contact Kerry Louderback-Wood at xxxx. She has already provided information in a recent CP story and published a lengthy legal report on the issue in the United States of America.
Take care and feel free to contact me if you need something further,
WT BLOOD GUILT EXPOSED TO THE WORLD
February 5, 2007
Winnipeg Jehovah's Witness teen loses fight to refuse blood ...
Calgary Sun, Canada - 11 minutes ago
Jehovah's Witnesses oppose transfusions because they interpret certain passages of the Bible as forbidding the ingestion of blood. ... WINNIPEG (CP) - A Jehovah's Witness teenager with Crohn's disease has lost her court fight to refuse blood transfusions. In a unanimous decision, the Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled a lower-court judge was correct in allowing doctors to give the 15-year-old Winnipeg girl a transfusion they considered medically necessary. The girl, who can't be identified, has said she was overwhelmed and scared when she was given the transfusion against her will last April. Jehovah's Witnesses oppose transfusions because they interpret certain passages of the Bible as forbidding the ingestion of blood. When the girl refused treatment, Child and Family Services obtained a court order allowing the procedure when medically necessary. The Appeal Court judges acknowledged the transfusions infringe on the teen's right to religious freedom, but are justified because of the sanctity of life and duty to protect children.
Jehovah's Witness teenager with Crohn's disease
"Staying Alive Until 1975" My Story of Growing Up JW withSevere Ulcerative Colitis Danny and Randy Watters both had/have this disease also
I have sent some letters to CBC, CJOB and Winnipeg Free Press thanking them for their story and saying similar things as I said above with a little tweaking.
If I can figure out who wrote the story at CP I will also send them something as well.
Thank you for your letter. I am passing it along to our reporter in Winnipeg, Michelle MacAfee.
Prairies News Editor
Canadian Press and Broadcast News
Hawkaw and Danny, you've both done a lot of good in these blood issue. Keep up the good work!
I'm guessing a negative JW membership gain in Canada within the next couple of years.
I have done very little as I am not really available much of the time any more. It's people like Kerry, Barb, Danny, Lawrence, those at AJWRB and all of those here who are doing the great work.
Nothing like a vaccination campaign.
BC vs. Jehovah's Witnesses: The sextuplets, this week in Maclean's
Canada NewsWire (press release), Canada - 5 minutes ago
Their parents, too, are a mystery - save for one salient fact: they are Jehovah's Witnesses. This alone defines them. It is enough to pillory them in the ... Attention News Editors:
B.C. vs. Jehovah's Witnesses: The sextuplets, this week in Maclean's
Inside a life-and-death struggle pitting faith and family against science
TOP RANKED ON THE NEWS WIRE Witness for the family
National Post, Canada - 1 1 minutes ago
When the BC government seized three sextuplets last month to ensure they received blood transfusions, the lawyer for the Jehovah's Witnesses parents ...
Saturday » February 10 » 2007 Witness for the family Debate over role of sextuplet case lawyer
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Tom Blackwell National Post
When the B.C . government seized three sextuplets last month to ensure they received blood transfusions, the lawyer for the Jehovah's Witnesses parents responded sharply, labelling the province's move a legal "hit and run." But then, Shane Brady is no dispassionate hired gun. As an in-house Witnesses lawyer and respected "Bethelite," he is also a senior religious leader of the sect, lives in its headquarters complex in Georgetown and is known to members nationwide for vigorously defending the group's controversial blood-transfusion ban. His devotion to the religion began when, as a young man, he worked as a baker at the head office. For some, his intimate involvement in the issue is to be admired. The Canadian Bar Association handed Mr. Brady a young lawyers award in 2004, honouring his "dedication above and beyond the call of duty." But others are less impressed, with an Alberta lawsuit accusing him of using his access as a lawyer and authority within the Church to influence clients to comply with the blood policy, a charge Mr. Brady vehemently denies. "To Jehovah's Witnesses, Shane Brady is a hero. He is a very important religious figure," says Lawrence Hughes, the Calgary man behind the suit and the father of a teenage girl with leukemia who tried to refuse a transfusion. "The person coming from Bethel [Witnesses headquarters] is the spokesman of God," said Michael Saunders, a former Bethelite and paralegal with the Church. "I know it sounds really, really ludicrous ... [But] essentially, disobeying him is disobeying God." Mr. Hughes' lawsuit concerning daughter Bethany's eventual death is now before the Alberta Court of Appeal, after lower court judges quashed the case for partly technical reasons. None of his allegations has been proven in court. Mr. Brady is not the first Witnesses lawyer to be honoured. Glen How, who fought government discrimination against the Church in the 1940s and after, was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2001. Yet persecution of the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) in Canada is part of the past now. And some experts question whether the lawyers -- with their single minded defence of the blood stand -- offer impartial counsel to parents faced with an unenviable choice: risk their child's death by spurning a blood transfusion or defy the Church and face painful expulsion. "Legal advice, solid legal advice should not be encumbered by the values of the lawyer,"said Professor Chris Levy, associate dean of law at the University of Calgary. "Certainly, in my view, [Witnesses lawyers] come very close to crossing that line. Whether they cross it or not is a very difficult question." Mr. Brady rejects as "offensive" the criticism of his role, arguing that he is simply representing clients with strong religious beliefs, not imposing his own principles or acting for the Church. It is no different, he said, than a lawyer in the United States who cares deeply about the rights of African-Americans representing a group such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "It would be incredible to argue that if a lawyer happens to have a certain moral view ... it would preclude them from taking on a certain case," he said. "That would preclude judges who happen to be Jewish sitting on a case involving Jewish individuals. The whole notion is ridiculous." Earl Cherniak, a prominent Toronto civil-litigation lawyer and friend of Mr. How, said he has no problem with in-house JW lawyers taking on transfusion cases. But if they do, they must fulfill their professional duty to present clients with all their legal options, including accepting the transfusion. Mr. Brady was in Vancouver recently, demanding a right to oppose the court order obtained unilaterally by B.C .'s Children and Family Development Ministry that allowed hospital staff to give transfusions to three babies against the parents' wishes. Two of the sextuplets have died. The parties return to court on Feb. 23 to debate the matter. Officially, Mr. Brady and such colleagues as David Gnam appear in court as members of the law firm W. Glen How and Associates. The citation for his bar association award said he did "pro bono" (free) work for a religious charity. But the pair are identified on the Web site of Eugene Meehan, Q.C., a private-practice lawyer who worked with them on the Hughes case, as "in-house" counsel for that religion. Former employees of the Watchtower Society Canadian headquarters in Georgetown, called Bethel, have indicated in court documents that How and Associates is, in fact, the Jehovah's Witnesses legal department. Mr. Brady, like others who work at the head office northwest of Toronto , would have been chosen for his faith and loyalty, said Michael Saunders, a former JW employee who quit the religion in 1995. Also like others, he started with menial jobs -- working as a baker and waiter -- before the Watchtower Society sent him to law school in Toronto, said Mr. Saunders, who was a paralegal in the department for three years. Such Bethelites are considered religious authorities whose word is gospel to other members, he said. On speaking engagements at Kingdom Halls throughout the country, fathers would sometimes even offer up their daughters in marriage to him because of the prestige of his position, he said. Mr. Brady, who is also an elder, and his wife live in the residences that form part of the headquarters, Mr. Saunders said. Frank Toth, another former Bethelite, said in an affidavit filed in the Hughes case that How and Associates "exists to do the society's bidding," with some lawyers particularly beholden to the organization because the group bankrolled their law degree. In the Hughes case, Mr. Brady and Mr. Gnam represented Bethany and her mother, Arliss, who stuck by the blood ban while father Lawrence broke from the religion and fought to get Bethany a transfusion. Reports from social workers who sat as witnesses in Bethany's hospital room -- after courts ordered she should face no undue influence -- indicated the lawyers visited and called the girl often, more than once hooking Bethany up by telephone with the family's Kingdom Hall so she could listen to a service. In one case, someone at the service told the teen that everyone "supports her and loves her" in the battle against transfusion. Mr. Hughes said nurses saw Mr. Brady and Mr. Gnam praying with his daughter. His lawsuit charges that they and other Jehovah's Witnesses officials pressured the girl and her mother into opposing a transfusion and seeking out an alternative treatment -- involving arsenic -- that helped lead to her premature death. Mr. Brady says that suggestion is absurd. "I've taken my barrister's oath," he said. "No judge has ever raised any concern about my representation of clients." © National Post 2007
CREDIT: Steve Bosch, CanWest News Service Shane Brady represents the parents of B.C . sextuplets.