Friday, October 08, 2010

Jehovah’s Witness faces prison for letting her child die

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Cartoon: “Church Mice.”
Contrasting the sad news with some light humor

Another incident of tough but much-needed justice, this time in Russia:

A Jehovah’s Witness member faces a year in prison over her refusal to allow her son to receive a blood transfusion that might have prevented his death in August, Interfax reported Thursday.

Ilya Orlukovich, 11, was hospitalized in Moscow on Aug. 9 after being hit by a car, and he died two weeks later, a spokesman for the city branch of the Investigative Committee told Interfax.

He said the boy’s mother forbade doctors from offering a blood transfusion because of a Jehovah’s Witness teaching that prohibits such operations. Now the woman, who was unidentified, has been charged with failing to assist a person in danger, the spokesman said.

It’s truly terrible that it has to end like this, adding insult over tremendous injury in sending a grieving mother to jail over the death of her child. I do feel for the poor woman. But this is the right call, and it should be made in every situation where a child suffers or perishes needlessly due to religious beliefs, regardless of whether the parents involved genuinely believed they were doing the right thing. It’s the only way to send the message across (because history has demonstrated that their children dying apparently isn’t enough): If you let your ideology and blind faith take control to the point where it costs the child life-saving treatment, you deserve to be punished for it.

They say the road to Hell may be paved with good intentions, and that’s why we can’t let incompetent parents off the hook when their good intentions turn deadly out of sheer superstition.

(via @religionnews)