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Mature Minors Refusal of Blood Transfusions

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Some countries allow for minors under the age where one can automatically make all medical decisions to refuse medical treatment at least for religious reasons if the minor (Often an adolescent) demonstrates that he or she is mature enough to make a decision on the matter.  In some countries where this is allowed court approval is needed. 


In 2009 the Supreme Court of Canada although upholding Manitoba's law that courts may authorize medical or dental treatment that the court considers to be in the best interests of minors under the age of 16 as constitutional.  The court did redefine the law to make it constitutionally compliant stating that;  "The wishes of minors under the age of 16 concerning medical treatment should be taken into consideration and once a minor proves that he or she has sufficient maturity to make a particular medical treatment decision the minor's treatment decision ought to be respected.  They applied this to life and death decisions for adolescents.   In recognition of the dramatic impact of the decision, the Court awarded the sister who had appealed because she had a blood transfusion forced on her, her court costs.


Of course in cases involving mature minors the minor must understand the consequences or potential consequences of his or her decision.


At this time in the United States there is no National standard.  There is a small number of States where it is required by law that mature minor's refusal of treatment be recognized.  However I know that some judges in some other States have allowed for it. 


There was a case in Washington State for example where a Judge in the town of Mount Vernon allowed a 14 year old to refuse blood transfusions for leukemia under any and all circumstances even if it meant his death.  The Judge   denied Child Protective Services' request that blood transfusions be forced. The boys biological parents and lawyers appointed by Child Protective Services also tried to convince the judge to force blood.  The teenagers Aunt was his legal guardian and he had been living with her since the age of 10 and she is one of Jehovah's Witnesses.


This took place in November of 2007. 


Anyway the Faithful and Discreet Slave has published good information on how parents can help their children be ready to make their own decision about refusing blood transfusions.


For example; the December 2005 Kingdom Ministry,  June 15, 1991 Watchtower. 


Even if a minor is not allowed to have absolute authority courts are more likely to take into consideration the wishes of a minor who  has maturity about it especially an adolescent.

This shows the importance of teaching children and helping them to be able to make their own decision. 

Edited by JW2017
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