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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Morning Confusion # 12,677

I am no only confused by this woman, I am saddened, angry, indignant, wounded, flayed, down trodden, racked over the coals, beat up, wiped out, worn out and just plain pissed off.

That's why Rebecca Whelan gets this week's "Asshole of the day" award! She adores her 13-month-old baby daughter Reese — but she would let her die before giving permission for her to have a blood transfusion!

“One day when she’s older she might look at me and ask ‘would you have done that to me?’ I would have to tell her yes.

“If she chooses not to take up my beliefs and is upset with me for that, it would be very sad — but I have to stand by my faith.”

She was deeply upset by the Court’s decision to force one of the women to breach her religious beliefs and allow a potentially life-saving transfusion on her severely anaemic unborn twins.

Put in her shoes, Rebecca says that she too would prioritise her faith over the life of her child. The moment she learned she was expecting, she made an appointment with her maternity hospital, the Rotunda in Dublin, and told them categorically that she did she want her life, or that of her baby, to be saved by a blood transfusion, in the event of a medical difficulty.

Fortunately, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl just over a year ago and did not need medical intervention in the form of blood.

“When I was expecting Reese, it was the first time I was confronted with a situation where I might be asked to take blood,” she says.

“In our religion, we have very clear standards about blood, which God asks us to abstain from using. In Scripture, blood is described as a very sacred thing that should not be shared.

“Even if I was told by doctors that my refusal to take it would result in death, it would still not be an option for me. I would stick to that belief even if they told me Reese’s life was in jeopardy. I think the decision by the High Court took this week is a shame. It will be very hard for the woman involved.”
Rebecca, 33, lives with her husband Geoff in Dublin’s inner city district of Smithfield. They met in the Rathgar Kingdom Hall, the generic term given to the Jehovah’s Witness churches around the world, which today claim a congregation of almost seven million followers.

The pair’s relationship developed within the confines of a chaperoned courtship, a condition of their religion’s strict rules, and last year,they had their baby girl.

“We are not martyrs or monsters,” says Rebecca. “We don’t want to let our children die. We want the very best for them like any parent. But if the crunch came and my child ended up dying because she needed a blood transfusion, I would feel I had done everything according to my faith.

When we come face to face with death, is turning your back on God by violating one of his laws a good decision?

‘There are non-religious reasons for not taking blood too. Even if I wasn’t a Witness, I’d be nervous about it.' 'In Ireland, we had a horrific situation where people caught hepatitis from contaminated blood.

We hear all over Europe how there are a lot of problems with people contracting all sorts of things from blood that is not screened properly. I’ve been in hospital myself and seen bags of blood hanging in the air and it turns my stomach.'
But her belief in the immorality of blood transfusions often generates anger in those she is trying to proselytize on the streets of Dublin.

“When I go from door-to-door, I always find that blood is the thing that upsets people most. It’s the one thing they always bring up. We try to explain that modern medicine has advanced so much that there are many alternatives to blood out there.

“There are definitely ways around this but Ireland is very backward when it comes to looking at alternative treatments. In other countries, like the US and Britain, it is never an issue.

My Granny who lives in England had two huge cancerous tumours removed from her bowel recently. The doctor was told there must be no blood used so he said “of course, no blood”. It just wasn’t an issue at all. They are able to use plasma expanders which refills the fluid and works just as well.

“I know a lot of non-Witnesses who don’t take blood. In the States, there are some hospitals which actually operate without blood.”
Within the Irish Jehovah’s Witness community, a number of Hospital Liaison Committees offer advice and information about doctors who are willing to consider alternatives to blood transfusion.

“That was a great help to me when I was pregnant,” says Rebecca. “I was informed as to what the alternatives were. When I was having Reese, I met with the head anaesthetist of the Rotunda Hospital and I went through the drugs and machinery that I would accept to make sure they could provide them.

I would also have access to a cell-salvage machine, which takes your blood, cleans it and puts it back in your body. I always made sure my iron levels were very high and did everything I could to make the pregnancy as healthy as possible.

“If we were badly hurt in a car crash tomorrow, I carry a card that says we will not accept blood. It’s called an Advance Directive. My GP has a copy and my friends so there is no risk that we would have to accept it.”
Religious devotion led to the death of a young English Jehovah’s Witness last year. Emma Gough, 22, died after giving birth in Shrewsbury in October.

When asked twice by medical staff if she would consent to a blood transfusion in a life or death situation, she said no. A fortnight ago, an inquest heard that she had told a midwife that she was “happy to die” than have a blood transfusion, leaving her newborn twins without a mother.

“Personally, I know that is how I would feel as well,” says Rebecca. “There are men who risk their lives for their country when they go to war. To us, there is no greater thing on Earth than Jehovah and I am willing to risk my life for him.

“To us, it is about nothing more than being loyal to God. It is not an emotional decision. If the crunch came and my child ended up dying because she needed a blood transfusion, at least I would feel I had done everything according to my faith. I am also reassured that I would see her again.”
Now, here comes the question of the day kids! Would You Trust The WatchTower Society?

While the Watchtower Society (the organization behind Jehovah’s Witnesses) claims to represent God, its leaders can not make up their minds about what God says.

They have come up with their own version of the Bible (necessary to support the organization’s unbiblical teachings), constantly go back and forth on a wide variety of issues, and keep getting their prophecies about the end of the world wrong.

Would you trust your life — and that of your loved ones — to these quacks?

Leave a comment below!

(Theologically, Jehovah’s Witnesses is a strange branch of Christianity but sociologically, the movement has cult-like elements and that's why it not only confuses me , but gives me one hell of a headache as well.)

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://Allans-Perspective.blogspot.com

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Anonymous John Doyle said...

Blood id indeed sacred. To refuse to share(hoard) spiritual good with some one in need
is worse than selfishness, It is idolatry

Saturday, April 26, 2008 10:28:00 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd take the blood, No matter how you look at it GOD would forgive her if it ment looking beyond herself to save the lives of her children.
Barbara N.,

Saturday, April 26, 2008 10:28:00 a.m.  
Anonymous J R said...

I would not be here if it were not for blood transfusions. I had eight pints of blood. I died at twenty one, as they were giving me blood transfusions

Saturday, April 26, 2008 1:27:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Becky B., said...

Faith is wonderful to have, but to die because of it or let someone you love die from it is just sensless.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:45:00 p.m.  
Anonymous daryl b. said...

i gave this a 10 but i don't agree. i am not sure we have the right to let our children die without trying everything as long as there will be quality of life

Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:45:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Ginny A said...

You must do everything possible to help a child. That's what being a mother is all about.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 3:46:00 p.m.  

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