Let's say a couple is told by a doctor that the odds are good that thier baby will die prematurely unless a blood transfusion is given. The parents decide not to go through with it due to thier beliefs. If the baby dies from not getting a transfusion, is that considered murder on behalf of the parents or atleast criminal neglegence? I mean, i'm aware of the abortion laws (roe vs. wade), but refusing to save the life of your child after its born... Thoughts?
Transfusion or Murder?
It makes common sense to you and I, but then we introduce the concept of "religious freedom" and the right to accept or decline medical treatment, even towards your infant child, and things get complicated. You're right, it can be viewed as murder - but if it were that simple I think the Society would have been brought to book a long long time ago...
In my experience, in most cases such issues are quickly referred to local child protective services.
Courts generally tend to side with the doctors in such cases. It's quite common that there is a court order granting temporary custody of the child to the state, which then allows the blood transfusion (or other treatment) to take place.
I believe that HLCs recognize how bad it would look if babies are dying due to parents refusing blood for them, and IIRC they kind of imply "don't put up too much of a fight...just enough to make it look convincing" when such court orders are given.
I.e., your scenario almost never occurs in the real world. Courts step in and order the transfusion before it's too late.
Even if the infant dies due to lack of blood, it seems awfully murky. Is it right to insist that parents must submit to every recommendation made by doctors? How much say should parents have in determining the treatment their infant receives? A little, a lot, 100%, none?
Generally the courts will step in under the same principle that has the courts stepping in when children are abused. We are a nation of laws and the law supersedes harmful religious beliefs.
Religious freedom stops when young girls under legal age are 'married' off to extreme Mormons who want their child brides (starting at age 12/13). and take umbrage at being called pedophiles.
Children who are encouraged to handle deadly snakes during a religious service. Children who have experienced the old 'spare the rod' and who require a visit to hospital.
The mother that hid her son so he wouldn't get the Chemo treatments that would save his life (his cancer was treatable).
Extreme cases where prudent medical treatment can save a life or at least prolong a life are the common reasons the state will step in.
It's not murder, but it could be "assisted suicide" !!