Faith's focus called unfair

The fight against blood transfusions for a city teen is being driven by the Jehovah's Witness faith, not the girl's best interests, a lawyer charged yesterday.

Bob Calvert, who acts for the teenager's father, said it's the religion's dogmatic approach that prevents the girl from making a rational decision about her treatment.

"It is a faith that is so absolute and uncompromising that it is not one that forms any reasoned or conscious decision," Calvert told Justice Adele Kent.

"It is a religion -- with respect -- that has no freedom within it."

Kent will hand down a ruling tomorrow which could see the teen moved to a California hospital for treatment for her leukemia which doesn't include blood transfusions.

The 16-year-old has been in Alberta Children's Hospital since mid-February after being diagnosed with the disease and given days to live without intensive chemotherapy.

Part of her chemotherapy treatment is regular blood transfusions -- which her lawyers say now number 14 -- a medical procedure opposed by Jehovah's Witnesses.

Calvert said the girl's vehement opposition to receiving blood is being driven by advice she is receiving from the Witness' Watch Tower Society, including her mother.

"The issue is not seated in the best interest of (her), but in the best interest of the Watch Tower Society," he said.

Outside court, the teen's lawyer, David Gnam, said the case is about his client's right to choose her medical treatments, not her religious beliefs.

"It is not limited to just religious issues," he said.