The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that young adolescents can take grave medical decisions on their own provided they show enough maturity.
The ruling overturned a previous one on the rights of adolescents by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Morris Kaufman of Manitoba. That ruling was given in a controversial case where a young girl named AC had refused blood transfusion as it was contrary to her beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness.
Advertisementthree psychiatrists said she had the "capacity to give or refuse consent to her own medical care," but the judge decided to allow her to get forced treatment under the Child and Family Services Act. The girl said the CFS act violated her rights and was unconstitutional.
Now four justices of the Supreme Court are agreeing with her. Justice Rosalie Abella, writing for the court, said the child's maturity must be taken into consideration under such conditions, maturity. As such, she decided, the law did not breach the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "If, after a careful and sophisticated analysis of the young person's ability to exercise mature, independent judgment, the court is persuaded that the necessary level of maturity exists, it seems to me necessarily to follow that the adolescent's views ought to be respected," she wrote.
However two justices dissented, while Justice Ian Binnie called the CFS Act unconstitutional.
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