[Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusions]
According to their data, there are 8,201,545 Jehovah’ Witnesses grouped in 115,416 congregations around the world. (Watch Tower Society 1). For such a new religion, the Witnesses have spread at an incredibly fast rate. Almost every person in America has been approached by a Jehovah’s Witnesses, which speaks of their pervasive tactics of proselytism. However, throughout its history, the religion has had a series of problems because of their beliefs and their rather a strict observance of certain rules. For that reason, this essay shall be centered in of those reasons that can be considered challenges for contemporary Jehovah’s Witnesses, the issue of refusing blood transfusions.
Nowadays, refusing blood transfusions can be regarded as extreme, but Jehovah’s witnesses support their decision using the Bible, particularly the Book of Leviticus, chapter 17, versicle 14.
“For the life of every sort of flesh is its blood, because the life is in it. Consequently, I said to the Israelites: “You must not eat the blood of any flesh because the life of every sort of flesh is its blood. Anyone eating it will be cut off.” (Leviticus 17:14)
Hence, like the ancient Israelite tribes, Jehovah’s Witnesses consider blood as the life, which does transfuse blood an act similar to giving someone other individual’s life. For that reason, although clinics are legally forced to accept the Witnesses’ decisions, a sizeable amount of the medical community wonder if that would be the most ethical decision, considering that it might result in their death. (DuBose and Penton 5). To address those concerns, Jehovah’s Witnesses argument that with the medical advances in the bloodless surgery, using blood transfusions is almost unnecessary and better clinical practice as it may reduce the post-surgery complications (Frey 1). However, since the practice has not been thoroughly institutionalized, many countries still do not have protocols regarding bloodless surgery, complicating many Witnesses’ decisions as if the congregation discovers they used a blood by-product or received a transfusion they might be shunned away and regarded as an unrepentant, actually removing them from the religion. Therefore, for many Witnesses in the world, receiving a transfusion does not constitute a choice, but a necessity that by going against their beliefs might leave them aside for their religion. Ultimately becoming a life or death decision between betraying their beliefs or dying.
DeBose, E., & Penton, M. (2002). The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Traditional Religious Beliefsand Healthcare Decisions. Park Ridge Center. Retrieved December 17, 2015)
Frey, R. (n.d.). Bloodless Surgery. Retrieved December 17, 2015, from http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/A-Ce/Bloodless-Surgery.html The Holy Bible. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2015, from http://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/genesis/9/#v1009004
Who Are Jehovah’s Witnesses? | Facts & Beliefs | JW.ORG. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2015, from http://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/