Blood Majority? Transfusion, Language, and the Law in the Age of Hobby Lobby

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Both the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Opinion and Dissent point a warning finger at Jehovah’s Witnesses’ stance on blood transfusion. But what do we mean when we talk about religious objections to blood transfusion like those of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? What does this specific objection regarding blood show us about how we might want to think about the intersection of law and bodies?

You should read my whole piece on Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusions below, but…

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Inaugural Post: Blood, Bibles, and Banknotes

On its internet presence, PerthNow, The Perth Sunday Times reports that ” two men, Axel Hofmann and Shannon Farmer” have received millions by the Western Australian Health Department to create a program called Patient Blood Management (PBM). According to AABB, PBM “is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to optimizing the care of patients who might need transfusion. PBM encompasses all aspects of patient evaluation and clinical management surrounding the transfusion decision-making process, including the application of appropriate indications, as well as minimization of blood loss and optimization of patient red cell mass. PBM can reduce the need for allogeneic blood transfusions and reduce health-care costs, while ensuring that blood components are available for the patients who need them.” Now, that in itself appears harmless, but money changed hands, and both happen to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, which makes the entire affair a bit more complicated than your average hospital program. But what exactly happened, what is PBM, and did their religion play a role? Continue reading