Winnipeg Jehovah's Witness teen loses fight to refuse blood transfusions

Canoe News, Canada/February 6, 2007

Winnipeg -- 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.

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