Australia passed an act in 1960 that allowed doctors to give a blood transfusion, if necessary, to minor children.
I am curious as to whether this Act - the Blood Transfusion Act 1960 - is still in effect in Australia. And I would also like to know if any Australian JWs are aware of this act. Are Australian JWs still told to resist blood transfusions for their minor children?
PUBLIC HEALTH (AMENDMENT) ACT.
Act No. 27, 1960.
An Act relating to the immunisation of children against
certain diseases and the giving of blood transfusions
to children; for these purposes to amend
the Public Health Act, 1902-1952; and for
purposes connected therewith. [Assented to, 19th
The first past of the act concerns vaccinations and the latter part, with administrating blood transfusions to minors:
39D. (1) A legally qualified medical practitioner may
perform the operation of transfusion of human blood
upon a minor without the consent of the parents or surviving
parent of such minor or any other person legally
entitled to consent to such operation if: —
(a) such parents, parent or other person when
requested so to do have or has not consented to
such operation, or after such search and inquiry
as is reasonably practicable in the emergency
such parents, parent or other person cannot be
(b) such legally qualified medical practitioner and at
least one other legally qualified medical practitioner
(i) upon the condition from which the minor
is suffering; and
(ii) that such operation is a reasonable and
proper one to be performed for such
(iii) that such operation is essential in order
to save the life of such minor; and
(c) such legally qualified medical practitioner has
had previous experience in performing the
operation of transfusion of human blood and
before commencing such operation has assured
himself that the blood to be transfused is compatible
with that of the minor.
(2) Where an operation of the nature referred to
in subsection one of this section has been performed on a
minor without the consent of the parents or surviving
parent of such minor or any other person legally entitled
to consent to such operation and in respect of such operation
the requirements and conditions of the said subsection
have been complied with such operation shall be
deemed to have been performed with the consent which
but for the provisions of this section would have been
required for the performance of such operation.
(3) The powers conferred on a legally qualified
medical practitioner by this section shall be in addition to
and not in derogation of any other powers of the legally
qualified medical practitioner in relation to the performance
of the operation of transfusion of human blood
upon a minor.
It appears as though New Zealand has also had much the same legislation in place since at least 1961:
2. Blood transfusions-The principal Act is hereby amended
by inserting, after section 126A (as inserted by section 6 of
the Health Amendment Act 1960), the following section:
"126B. (1) In this section, the term 'blood transfusion',
or 'transfusion', means the injection of whole human blood,
or any constituent part or parts thereof, into the bloodstream
of any person.
"(2) Except by leave of a Judge of ,the Supreme Court,
no proceedings, civil or criminal, shall be brought against any
person, in respect of the administration by any medical practitioner
of any blood transfusion to any person under the age
of twenty-one years (in this section referred to as the patient),
by reason of the lack of consent of any person whose consent
is required by law.
It is too bad that other countries, most notably, the United States, didn't follow Australia and New Zealand's example in back in the 60s. The number of courtroom dramas played out in American courts in the 60s and 70s (and later...) concerning minors and the administration of blood, would not have been necessary and, the number of JW children who died because of blood refusal would have been substantially reduced.