U.S. pro-life leaders are asking the British government to honor parental rights and allow the parents of a terminally ill infant to seek medical care abroad.
“In the tragic case of Charlie Gard, the British government has unjustly decided that his life doesn’t have the value of others,” said Tina Whittington, executive vice president of Students for Life of America, at a press conference Thursday.
The European Court of Human Rights decided June 27 that the hospital could remove life support from Charlie. Great Ormond Street Hospital, the facility that has been keeping Charlie since October, is planning to remove his life support, The Atlantic reported.
“One of the great challenges and one of the great charges we have as a human family is to care for the most vulnerable among us,” Whittington said.
Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Constance Yates, want to bring their son to the United States to undergo treatment of his disease, infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The couple has raised nearly $1.7 million on GoFundMe for expenses related to his treatment.
Pro-life leaders say the parental rights of Gard and Yates should supersede the decision of the European courts.
“Charlie’s parents want to rescue him as any parent would want,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said at the press conference, adding:
They want to truly care for their child in a way that only parents can love. They love him in a way that an institution, a hospital, or a government simply can’t. The hospital will not even allow Charlie’s parents to transfer him to others who do not see this parental love in action as an act of futility.
Penny Young Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, said Great Ormond Street Hospital should not decide Charlie’s fate.
“Who are we to decide?” Nance said. “Who do we think we are that we decide who gets to live and who doesn’t? Whose life is valuable and whose is not? This is way beyond our pay grade.”
“This is a matter for God and it is certainly a matter for loving parents who love their child,” she added, “and so we just humbly come before the sovereign nation of the U.K. and say reconsider.”
Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, said the hospital’s plan to remove Charlie’s life support is wrong.
“We have … a hospital that was instituted to care for the least among us, to care for the most vulnerable,” Foster said, adding:
And yet a hospital that hired to care for little Charlie has decided to abdicate that duty and has gone to court to remove Charlie’s ventilator, refusing to transfer him to any of the many hospitals around the world who have offered care, who have offered treatment … It is really tragic.
The Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital offered to care for Charlie, but was denied Wednesday by the Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Atlantic reported.
President Donald Trump has spoken out in support of Charlie.
If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons Wednesday Charlie’s parents “are in an ‘unimaginable situation’ and are trying to do what’s right for their child, but that in cases like this doctors are forced to make ‘heartbreaking decisions,’” Fox News reported.
The March for Life began a campaign Thursday to save Charlie, which includes a petition to the Great Ormond Street Hospital to allow Charlie’s parents to bring him to the United States for care.
“Today we pray in thanksgiving for little Charlie’s life and we pray that God will allow a miracle first and foremost for healing,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said Thursday at the press conference. “For miraculous healing for little Charlie Gard, but second, and we shouldn’t have to pray for this, for a miracle of freedom for his family to decide how best to treat their little boy.”