A High Court judge has said a baby boy can undergo blood transfusions despite his parents’ objections. The baby has complex heart disease but his parents, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, said they could not consent to a transfusion on religious grounds. Birmingham Children’s Hospital had applied for an order to proceed with cardiac surgery and transfusions. The judge, Mr Justice Keehan, heard the boy had no “long-term prospect of survival” without the surgery.
The boy was born at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire on 7 February and placed in special care. He was transferred to intensive care in Birmingham the following day. Although the baby’s parents had agreed to surgery, they said they could not consent to their son receiving blood.
However, Mr Justice Keehan said receiving blood was in the boy’s best interests, notwithstanding his parents’ “understandable objections”. In a written ruling following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, he said: “I entirely understand and sympathise with the stance of these parents.”
, he added: “It is in [his] best interests to receive blood products both during the surgery and, if necessary, subsequent to it.” (BBC – West Midlands 3rd March 2014).
The Watchtower Society’s stance on blood transfusions continues to make it into the news headlines; but what exactly do they teach about blood? According to their website, JW.org, this is what the Bible teaches:
The Bible commands that we not ingest blood. So we should not accept whole blood or its primary components in any form, whether offered as food or as a transfusion. Note the following scriptures:
Genesis 9:4. God allowed Noah and his family to add animal flesh to their diet after the Flood but commanded them not to eat the blood. God told Noah: “Only flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat.” This command applies to all mankind from that time on because all are descendants of Noah.
• Leviticus 17:14. “You must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh, because the soul of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off.” God viewed the soul, or life, as being in the blood and belonging to him. Although this law was given only to the nation of Israel, it shows how seriously God viewed the law against eating blood.
• Acts 15:20. “Abstain . . . from blood.” God gave Christians the same command that he had given to Noah. History shows that early Christians refused to consume whole blood or even to use it for medical reasons.
There are sound medical reasons to avoid blood transfusions. More important, though, God commands that we abstain from blood because what it represents is sacred to him.—Leviticus 17:11; Colossians 1:20. (Source:JW.Org)
Let’s consider what they are saying:
They claim that the ‘Bible commands that we not ingest blood’. The word ‘ingest’ means to take (food or liquid) into the body, but is this what the Bible says?
When we consider the verses offered by The Watchtower in support of their view, we find a great deal of theological ignorance concerning what the Bible says about blood.
The key verses that Jehovah’s Witnesses use are to be found in Leviticus 17 and Acts 15. In these chapters we find the admonishment to not ‘eat’ blood. Reading these chapters in context we find that what is being spoken about is animal sacrifice. God had commanded the Israelites not to eat animal blood. They were told to pour the blood onto the ground because ‘the life is in the blood’.
So we see that the verses they use to justify their ‘unbiblical’ belief say nothing about either human blood or indeed blood transfusions. Furthermore, there is no comparison to be had between ‘eating’ blood and ‘infusing’ blood. Blood transfusions put blood directly into the veins replacing lost blood, no blood is digested whatsoever.
They say ‘So we should not accept whole blood or its primary components’
The primary components of blood are red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Throughout its history The Watchtower has made some changes regarding how it views blood. Here is a chart outlining those changes:
The following observations from http://www.jwfacts.com are worthy of note:
The Watchtower is inconsistent in allowing blood fractions. This is readily apparent when considering the following.
“Jehovahs Witnesses do not accept transfusions of whole blood or the four primary components of blood namely, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. They also do not donate or store their own blood for transfusion.” Kingdom Ministry Nov 2006 p.3
“Beyond that, when it comes to fractions of any of the primary components, each Christian, after careful and prayerful meditation, must conscientiously decide for himself.” Watchtower 2000 Jun 15 p.31
1. If it is wrong for a Witness to donate blood, who do the blood fractions they use come from?
2. If blood must be poured on the ground, where are the blood fractions they use derived from?
3. If abstaining from blood does not allow taking a “major” fraction, why does it allow a fraction of a fraction?
4. If blood fractions were always acceptable to Jehovah, who is responsible for the Witnesses that needlessly died refusing them, due to Watchtower policy forbidding them prior to the year 2000? (Source: jwfacts.com)
They claim that ‘there are sound medical reasons to avoid blood transfusion’; but it is ‘more important, though, God commands that we abstain from blood because what it represents is sacred to him’
There may well be some sound medical reasons for choosing not to have a blood transfusion, and individuals are free to weigh up the options and make a decision. The reality for Jehovah’s Witnesses though, is that they are not free to weigh up the options make a decision. The decision has been made for them by The Watchtower Society, who claim that a blood transfusion would break ‘God’s command. This leaves the obedient Witness fearing that life on Paradise Earth would be lost should they break Jehovah’s law on blood.
This devilish ‘unbiblical’ doctrine has led to many surrendering their lives for no reason other than they are slaves to The Watchtower Society. Rather than pleasing God they unwittingly follow the doctrines of men to their destruction.