Questions From Readers
● Is a person free from accountability for violating God’s law about the sanctity of blood if he receives a transfusion as a result of a court order that overrides his decision not to take blood?—U.S.A.
This would depend upon the circumstances. No court order, of course, can set aside the law of Jehovah God, the Supreme Lawgiver. (Acts 5:29) Obviously a Christian could never justify his committing murder or extortion or submitting to adultery even though a court ordered him to do so.
What, then, could bring accountability in such cases of court-ordered transfusions? A patient’s failure to speak with conviction when he had the opportunity, and then later failure to offer resistance, could contribute to his receiving an unwanted blood transfusion. One factor that has had a vital bearing on the decision of some judges has been the conviction of the patient, his feeling of accountability before God. Therefore, in cases where there is no indication that the patient will resist a court-ordered blood transfusion, judges have often been inclined to yield more readily to the appeals of doctors and hospitals.
In a number of cases Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, when faced with the possibility of a court order for transfusion, have taken steps to avoid breaking God’s law. Some have been able to transfer their family members or relatives to other hospitals, where treatment that did not violate God’s law was administered. Should the condition of the patient be so critical as to make survival a virtual impossibility were he removed from the hospital for even a brief period, this avenue would manifestly be closed.
Of course, in some cases a person may have exhausted all mental and physical means to prevent such violation of God’s law; he may even be unconscious. If, despite his every effort, a transfusion is forced on him, he must leave the matter in Jehovah’s hands, trusting in his mercy. His position in this case is comparable to that of a woman who may be raped despite her continuous screams and physical efforts to resist her assailant. According to the Mosaic law, such a woman was guiltless. (Deut. 22:25-27) However, if she failed to scream, she was not blameless. (Deut. 22:23, 24) Accordingly, God would expect Christians today to take every step possible (that is not contrary to God’s Word) in order to avoid being party to a violation of His law on blood.