If a Jehovah’s Witness is in need of a life-saving blood transfusion and no other options are available, they are instructed to die.
This was the case with a woman from Ghana named Rebecca Dankwa. She had had eight previous pregnancies, meaning that her ninth pregnancy was considered “high risk.”
It was thus understandable when even though she successfully delivered her newborn, she began to bleed profusely. She refused the proper medical treatment on religious grounds until it was too late and she died. Was her death inevitable or could it have been avoided?
Years earlier, Watchtower had subjected Dankwa to a religious tribunal, known among Witnesses as a “judicial committee,” because she had accepted a blood transfusion when giving birth to her previous child.
On that occasion also, because she had given birth so many times, she was considered a high risk pregnancy requiring a transfusion. Her religion found her guilty and she was cut off from her friends and family. Only after the leaders in her community and the chiefs from her hometown rallied around her was she eventually reinstated into the congregation, but the experience must have been traumatic.
It could very well be that when confronted with the same situation again she decided to stick to her guns about the transfusion for fear of reprisals. If she had accepted a second transfusion she could have been disfellowshipped again – deemed an unrepentant wrongdoer for being a repeat offender. It’s hard to even imagine the mental and emotional anguish she must have been put through, especially when you consider that she finally relented to receiving a transfusion but only when it was too late.
Dankwa’s decision couldn’t rightly be considered as being taken of her own accord. The pressure her religion placed on her simply cannot be ignored and must be factored into her choice to abstain from a life-saving medical procedure (not to mention that the entire JW doctrine on blood is both nonsensical and unbiblical, as you will see from reviewing the JWFacts article on blood).
No free will, no love
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that God endowed humanity with free will. Yet, at the same time they have a policy of shunning that pressures members into conforming to their religious standards.
If free will is such an important principle, why not just leave people alone to make decisions for themselves, especially in respect to medical choices concerning life and death?
Also warped is the Witness claim that they are the most loving people on earth. They claim that their group fulfills the standards of love set forth in the Bible that make them unique as “God’s people.”
Was Rebecca Dankwa indeed being faithful to a “God of love” or was she simply influenced by a religion who had real power over her life? Are nine motherless children really what a loving god would want?
This tragic story serves as a perfect example of how loveless Watchtower’s shunning policy truly is. For far too long the organization has intruded upon the private medical decisions of its members. It is high time for them to lighten the load they place on the millions of lives they directly affect. The ball is, and always has been, in their court.
In the meantime the body count continues to increase while so many watch helplessly from the sidelines.