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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is Refusal of Blood a Form of Suicide?

Jehovah's Witnesses closely follow the advances made in the field of bloodless medicine and surgery as is evidenced by a complete examination of the links on this site's right-hand sidebar. There are endless examples and much documentation of their utilization of this. Would they really be so eager to find quality, medical alternatives to blood transfusions for themselves and their children whom they deeply love if their refusal of blood was tantamount to a form of suicide or a "right to die"?

Christians who truly follow God's command to "abstain from blood" do not decline all therapies. They reject just one therapy, which even many experts admit come with dangers. (Acts 15:28,29)

"In general, refusing medical care is not tantamount to ‘suicide.’ Jehovah’s Witnesses seek medical attention but refuse only one facet of medical care. Refusal of medical care or parts thereof is not a ‘crime’ committed on oneself by an overt act of the individual to destroy, as is suicide." - The American Surgeon, July 1968, p. 542.

Addressing a medical conference, Dr. David Pent of Arizona observed concerning Christians who follow the decree to "abstain from blood":

"Jehovah's Witnesses feel that, should they die because of their refusal to receive a blood transfusion, they are dying for their beliefs in much the same way that the early religious martyrs did centuries ago. If this is passive medical suicide, there are several physicians in the audience right now who are smoking cigarettes, and that probably constitutes just as passive a suicide." -American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, June 1, 1968, p. 395

Should the preservation of life come before any and all principles?

"Human dignity is enhanced by permitting the individual to determine for himself what beliefs are worth dying for. Through the ages, a multitude of noble causes, religious and secular, have been regarded as worthy of self-sacrifice. Certainly, most governments and societies, our own included, do not consider the sanctity of life to be the supreme value." - Rutgers Law Review, Vol. XXVI, 1973, p. 244, Norman L. Cantor, Associate Professor at Rutgers Law School

For more, see
God's View of Blood