Today the Supreme Court hears a case involving A.C., a 14 year-old Winnipeg girl who is a Jehova’s Witness. A.C. believes she has the right to prevent doctors from running roughshod over her religious beliefs and forcing a blood transfusion on her. However, she was forcibly given a transfusion (on a judge’s order) to replace blood she had lost through Crohn’s disease.
A.C. described her ordeal this way: “Having someone else’s blood pumped through my veins, stressing my body, caused me to reflect on how my rights over my body couldbe taken away by a judge who did not care enough to talk with me … I will not violate Jehovah God’s command to abstain from blood.”
One of the issues before the Court is when a mature minor can be forced to accept treatment, even though they have the mental capacity to make treatment decisions.
However, the Crown takes a different view: “Legislation regulating marriage, voting, driving, drinking, contracting, will-making and many other areas establish minimum ages which in turn, deny privileges or impose disabilities on those persons younger than a certain age.”
In your opinion should a 14-year-old Jehova’s Witness be able to refuse a blood transfusion on religious grounds?