Feb 03 2007

The Vancouver Sextuplets: infants over edicts

Published by at 12:17 am under Current Events,Vancouver

The latest rights versus religion debate around the Vancouver sextuplets is getting one-sided press coverage – as it should.

The Jehovah’s Witness parents are attempting to stay out of the limelight, preferring sound-bites from their lawyer over full-on media access over their decision to withold potentially life-saving blood transfusion treatment from their babies on religious grounds.

By default, the BC government and medical authority’s move to temporarily take the babies out of the parents’ custody to give them the treatment is getting a lot more face time in front of the cameras to defend their position. So far, it doesn’t seem that journalists have felt the need to go out of their way to balance up the story. That’s good.

While the limitation on the rights of the unborn were settled in Canada fairly recently, the rights of the born are quite clear. Their right to life trumps religious convictions every time.

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “The Vancouver Sextuplets: infants over edicts”

  1. on 23 Feb 2007 at 5:27 am

    Thanks for using the adjective “potentially” in front of “life-saving blood transfusions”. The state has no right to force chemotherapy, blood, or any other treatment on people. Just let us take our children to the U.S. where we have no problem getting bloodless surgery. Do your research. Have you forgotten the Horace Kriever report? The Red Cross lost its position as blood collector to a new agency, Cdn. Blood Services at the time of that report. Why not report again the number of patients who got Aids and Hep C from the “Tainted Blood”, as it was described in both MacLean’s and Time Magazines. It is the right of any patient or their legal guardians to get a second opinion, a right that I am sure anyone would excercise if told they had to have an amputation or other major surgery.

  2. on 23 Feb 2007 at 5:31 am

    Thanks for letting me express my point of view, and if you think I am an unfit parent, you could check with my grandchildren or their parents, some of whom do not share the faith that they were raised in, but they respect my views.

  3. on 23 Feb 2007 at 6:54 am

    Dear Anonymous,
    You wrote that “the state has no right to force chemotherapy, blood or any other treatment on people”.

    I agree with you completely on that. However, that’s irrelevant.

    But parents do not “own” their children in the same way that they own property. Infants have the same right to life guaranteed all Canadians. But infants do not have the ability to request medical treatment, much less refuse it. Given the circumstances, the doctors and the government had to assume that the newly-born babies would prefer a higher probability of survival into adulthood.

    I’m afraid your arguments do not sway me in the least. According to polls taken at the time of the events we are discussing, they would not resonate with the vast majority of Canadians, either.

  4. on 29 Mar 2007 at 6:13 pm

    The following website summarizes over 200 similar court cases involving Jehovah’s Witness Parents who refused life-saving blood transfusions for their children:



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