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Old 02-01-2007, 03:45 PM   #1
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Church vs State: JW babies given blood transfusions

Hmm...another babies-in-hospital story. This is playing out in the media here in Vancouver, B.C.

Some of the six babies born to Jehovah's Witnesses couple need blood transfusions to survive. Parents weren't allowing the procedures.

To me, personally, protection of the babies' lives takes precedent, of course, over everything else. It's like child-protection services: government regularly steps in to save abused children from parents/foster parents. [Some here are trying to connect this to the abortion debate, but i can't see the connection.]

Church vs State: Battle over surviving sextuplets
Lawyer Shane Brady will seek a court order that the ministry not interfere without giving parents a hearing.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The province has forced at least two of the Lower Mainland's four surviving sextuplets to have blood transfusions as a life-saving measure, over the objections of their Jehovah's Witnesses parents.

The parents and the province are locked in a dramatic legal battle that pits religious beliefs against the government's legal responsibility to protect children.

In an emotional affidavit filed in B.C. Supreme Court, dated Tuesday, the father said he wants the best medical care for his children and wants them to live.

"[B]ecause we choose alternative medical treatments to blood transfusions, we have been stripped of our parental rights and have been labelled unfit," he said.

A lawyer for the parents appeared Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court ready to appeal the Children and Family Development Ministry's decision to seize the children, only to find the ministry had returned the children to the parents' care.

The babies, who were born prematurely, are still being cared for in hospital.

However, at least two of three children taken into the province's custody on the weekend have received blood transfusions, a medical procedure opposed by Jehovah's Witnesses as it offends their religious beliefs.

At a hastily called press conference Wednesday, Children and Family Development Minister Tom Christensen would not comment specifically about the case, but said the ministry is obliged to ensure children receive appropriate medical care.

"Any time that 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," he told reporters at the B.C. legislature.

Christensen said the ministry listens closely to advice from physicians and seizes children only as a last resort.

"The ministry will always take the least intrusive option that we have," he said. "Our goal always is to respect families, to try and keep families whole, and we'll take the least intrusive steps necessary to protect children in any particular situation."

Ontario lawyer Shane Brady, who represents the family, said the ministry's actions were "a gross violation" of the parent's constitutional rights and he will be back in B.C. Supreme Court for a hearing on the issue Feb. 23.

"We appear in court today to appeal the director's actions and the government withdraws and returns the children to the family. Of course, it is too late [to prevent blood transfusions] and my client views what they have done as a sort of hit and run and they've suffered a gross violation of their constitution rights," said Brady.

Brady said he will be seeking a court order that the ministry abide by a Supreme Court of Canada decision of 1995 which, he said, states that governments should not interfere with parental decisions without first giving parents a fair hearing.

According to the affidavit by the children's father, the first of the babies was seized Friday afternoon after the ministry acquired a treatment order.

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Old 02-01-2007, 04:03 PM   #2
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I think this would fall into the same category as *consenting* for a five year old to have sex, it's a violation of the rights of the hild.

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Old 02-01-2007, 04:52 PM   #3
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I'm sorry, but I'm with the ministry. It's insane to let babies die in the name of religious freedom. I'm sorry they had to "grab" the babies, but this is the right thing to do.
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:49 PM   #4
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If the babies were 18 years in the future then they could CHOOSE to die for they're religious beliefs...but since they have not CHOSEN a religion then the JW's or anyone else for that matter has NO RIGHT to choose for them - especially if that means death. This is one example where I must admit the state did the right thing.
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:27 PM   #5
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Let's look at it this way:

If "religion" wasn't a factor in all of this, would the parents be crazy/unfit parents? Yes. The state was correct to intervene.
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:33 PM   #6
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Because it isn't relgion it doesn't make them any less crazy or unfit.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:34 PM   #7
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Not giving children the best care they're rightfully entitled to is neglect. I agree with Judah's comment.

The JW religion is full of strange and unfounded 'rules'. I encourage any JW who finds my comments offensive to wave a black light over their dinner to see how well they truly bleed their meat. I encourage them to take a good long hard look at themselves every time they attend the funeral of someone who died from failing to utilise the full benefits medical science offers. Practices like these stand out as bizarre and unnecessary. How on earth it relates to God is as questionable as unrelenting and blind faith in something hopelessly unproven.
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Old 02-02-2007, 07:29 PM   #8
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This is one aspect of the religion that rips at my heart.
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:29 PM   #9
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This really isn't a controversial issue insofar that Canadian courts have routinely made such rulings over the years. The consent issue in Canadian health law is relatively well defined.

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