Is denying blood transfusions to minors for religious reasons unconstitutional?
This is for my 8th grade project and report. You have to choose a debatable topic and make an essay and tri fold board explaining if it is constitutional or unconstitutional. I chose “denying medical treatment to minors for religious reasons”. I decided to make it all about Jehovah’s Witnesses and how they don’t allow blood transfusions. I have all this information on if it makes sense or not and names of people that have died from not getting blood transfusions and pretty much all of the bible scriptures of the new world translation that jehovah’s witnesses perceive as jehovah saying not to take in blood.. I just got caught up and forgot about the main point of this project. Constitutional or Unconstitutional. I know the first amendment guarantees freedom of religion, but I’m not really sure where to go from there. I also know the declaration of independence has unalienable rights of LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but that’s not the constitution. I don’t mean to offend anyone by this and I hope to get answers from both JWs and non-JWs. I have nothing against JWs about three of my family members are elders in congregations and pretty much the rest of them are JWs (from my father’s side that is).
For starters look up what a Patient’s Right To Self-Determination is. That will help you see that there is a right each person has to decide what is done with his or her body. A child is the responsibility of their parents until that child is old enough to know right from wrong and make their own choice. Many times parents are held responsible by governments for what mischievous things their kids do. If a child damages someone else’s property, the parents are usually the ones that have to respond for the damages, right? If a child is not receiving the proper nutrition or care, usually the governments will find fault with the parents (or guardians) and hold them accountable. The religion a child is taught and the moral values they are given, fall with the parents, does it not? If a child has cancer, and the parents are aware of the risks and consequences to say radio or chemo therapy, and decide to not subject that child to this treatments, is it their right to make that decision?
JW are not saying that they are refusing all medical treatments… just the use of blood transfusions. There are so many viable alternatives out there that can take the place of the blood transfusion and have the same or even better results without the obvious risks that a blood transfusion can bring.
If you have JW family members, then ask them if they can lend you the Transfusion Alternatives DVD. Watch all 3 of them and you will see that it should provide you with clear cut reasons why blood-less alternatives are the better and healthier option.
For JW it is nto a matter of healthier or not though. We are just being obedient to our creator (Acts 15:28, 29; Gen. 9:3, 4; Leviticus 17:13-16)
Is a transfusion really the same as eating blood?
In a hospital, when a patient cannot eat through his mouth, he is fed intravenously. Now, would a person who never put blood into his mouth but who accepted blood by transfusion really be obeying the command to “keep abstaining from . . . blood”? (Acts 15:29) To use a comparison, consider a man who is told by the doctor that he must abstain from alcohol. Would he be obedient if he quit drinking alcohol but had it put directly into his veins?
I hope this helps.
If you would like to know more about this and other themes, next time Jehovah’s Witness come to your door, ask them for a free Bible study at your convenience. You will never regret all the knowledge you will acquire and remember that what you do with that knowledge is your choice.
Knowledge + Application = Wisdom