During the past few weeks there have been several cases involving children who were ordered by government officials to take specific medical treatment in order to save their lives. The Canadian Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Manitoba social workers had the legal right to force a Jehovah Witness teenage girl to get a blood transfusion even though she argued in doing so it was equivalent to being raped. It is already clear babies and young children can be compelled to have medical treatment, but this was the first case involving a “mature minor.” The girl is fifteen and within a few months of becoming sixteen when legally she could make her own medical decisions.
The girl has been educated to believe in her religion that certain medical treatments violate God’s laws. The Court ruled that authorities could take the views of mature minors into account, but not allow these views to be paramount in making a medical decision. If it is a life threatening situation the Court decided government could intervene.
Three psychiatrists decided “A.C.” knew the consequences of her decision to reject a blood transfusion. However, has A.C. really been provided an education that enables her to make an informed decision?