Court rules girl, 14, must have a blood transfusion despite religious belief

Vancouver, Canada - A young Okanagan girl must accept a blood transfusion as part of her treatment for cancer, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The 14-year-old girl is a Jehovah Witness and had argued blood transfusions violate her religious beliefs. But Madam Justice Mary Boyd ruled freedom of religion is not absolute, and the protection of a child's right to life is a basic part of the legal system.

The decision upheld a lower-court ruling.

In its decision, the Supreme Court also made the girl - who can't be identified - a ward of the province to ensure she gets the medical care doctors say she needs.

However, the lawyer for the girl's family said outside court Monday the doctor involved won't force the teen to take blood transfusions.

The girl has agreed to chemotherapy treatments and to the removal of a cancerous tumour from her right leg, even if it means amputation.