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Friday, June 26, 2009

Forced Blood Transfusions

If you expect to have religious freedom for yourself, then you have to allow it for other people, whether you agree with their choices or not. That is how liberty and fairness works.

There are many religious practices out there that I disagree with, that I think are harmful. When we talk of harm, we talk of consent; where there isn't consent, there is harm. So the question becomes, if a person capable of understanding consent, are they allowed to harm themselves?

4 years ago, a 14 year old female in Winnipeg was forced by the government to have a blood transfusion, something against her religious convictions as a Jehovah's Witness. Today, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld that decision by the Manitoba Court that allowed for the forced transfusion to take place.

The unidentified girl, now 18 years old, reacted.

"I don't want to die, which is why I went to the hospital for treatment. I just wanted the best medical treatment without blood …" the young woman, who is now 18, told CBC.

"There almost are no words to say just how brutal of an act [blood transfusion] is. I once compared it to almost being raped. There are no options for you, there's nothing you can do about it and it's very hard to deal with."

This girl compares her experience to being raped; rape sanctioned and enforced by the government.

Those are very strong words, that should not be taken lightly. To her, this was a violation of her body, a body that she owns and is in charge of.

Three psychiatrists who assessed her all concluded she understood her medical condition and the consequences of not getting a transfusion.

If this is the case, if she truly understood the consequences of such an action, then she is free to decide what to do with her body. Her body, her choice.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on June 26, 2009 in Religion | Permalink


"I've heard the complaint that "we have a "law" system, not a justice system" It's a nice bumper sticker, but what does it mean?"

It means that laws and the justice they are popularly supposed to promote don't always coincide. Justice is reward for virtue and punishment for wrong; the law is whatever the legislature, subject to the word of the courts, says it is. What did you think it meant?

Enough with the "bumper sticker" shtick already. Deriding an argument isn't the same as debunking it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-29 6:48:14 AM

"Everybody seemed keen to leave the decision as to whether the child should get needed medical care in the hands of the parents. If that medical care is indeed neeed to save the child's life, barring it because of some religious superstition may well qualify as abuse."

1. Superstition is not unique to religion; secular humanists in particular are loaded with it. A good one is that opening the field to private health care providers would destroy the public system.

2. Parents and teenaged daughter were in agreement. The only ones who weren't were the doctors (who have no power of attorney) and the state. I have often seen that social workers are enthusiastic busybodies who fancy they know better than anyone concerned. And the great majority of them are women, which makes reasoned discussion impossible.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-29 6:52:53 AM

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