Victoria — The B.C. government took custody of three of four surviving sextuplets over the weekend from a Jehovah’s Witness family, believing the infants were in danger if they didn’t get blood transfusions, the family’s lawyer revealed Wednesday.
The family has since regained custody after two or three of the four babies were given transfusions. Such medical intervention is prohibited under the Jehovah’s Witness faith.
But the anonymous family, which has avoided the media since the sextuplets’ births, went to court Wednesday and was given a chance in late February to argue their rights have been violated, said lawyer Shane Brady, who also confirmed two of the six babies born overnight Jan. 6-7 have since died.
A Supreme Court of Canada decision a decade ago ruled a family had to be consulted before such government intervention, something the government did not do, he alleged.
Claiming it is bound by privacy laws, the B.C. government would not confirm the action or details of the case.
B.C. Children’s Minister Tom Christensen only said the government is bound by law to act in the interest of children.
"What I can tell you is that the ministry’s obligation any time we find that there’s a child in need of protection for any reason, including the need for medical treatment, the ministry will look at the situation and determine whether there’s action we need to take to ensure that the child is protected. That is the policy we follow."
The four boys and two girls — each weighing only 1.8 pounds — were born at 25 weeks, just over the half-way mark of an average 40-week pregnancy.