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Alfie Evans more than 48 hours after he was removed from his ventilator on April 23, 2018. Kate James / Facebook
Calvin Freiburger

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‘Absolutely heartbreaking’: Pope, politicians, pro-life leaders react to Alfie Evans’ death

Calvin Freiburger

April 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Numerous religious leaders, lawmakers, pro-life activists, and conservative commentators are offering reactions and lessons in the wake of Alfie Evans’ death.

“I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie,” Pope Francis said Saturday. “Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.”

The 23-month-old boy died over the weekend at Alder Hey Children’s hospital, which had removed his ventilator five days earlier in defiance of his parents’ wishes. Alfie’s doctors said he had an undiagnosed and untreatable neurological condition that has resulted in serious and irreparable brain damage.

For months, parents Tom Evans and Kate James fought the hospital in court to keep him alive, but were denied at every turn. Alfie’s second birthday would have been May 9.

In an interview published Monday, Vatican diplomat Cardinal Pietro Parolin told Crux that Alfie’s death gave him “enormous sadness,” and that “terrible” logic animated the hospital and judges’ insistence that the child die.

“We should try to give a truly human response to these situations, based on love for the person, respect for his dignity and his uniqueness,” Parolin continued. “We hope that it will be possible to do so and that the topic will not be closed without thinking about it, ready to fight again in the next case.”

On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement offering his family’s prayers to Alfie’s parents.

Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX, responded to the news in a Facebook post denouncing the British National Health Service for “play[ing] God.”

“The NHS refused to permit Italy to treat him at no cost. The NHS refused to release Alfie to die at home. The NHS even expelled the priest ministering to Alfie,” Cruz wrote. “The NHS and UK courts refused to release Alfie to the custody of his parents, claiming that it was in Alfie’s best interests to die. Alfie’s tragic situation, reflecting that of Charlie Gard last year, is becoming an all-too predictable consequence of socialized medicine, and the arrogance, imperiousness, and low regard for human life displayed by the bureaucrats who administer it.”

Tennessee Republican Congresswomen Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn both called the news “absolutely heartbreaking”:

Former Alaska Gov. and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who infamously received a torrent of liberal denunciations in 2009 for arguing that socialized medicine inevitably lead to “death panels,” called the news heartbreaking as well.

Days before, she told Breitbart News that Alfie’s treatment was “diabolical,” and warned that America would face the same future if “lackadaisical voters ignore the warnings of the death panels, and if they just assume that Obamacare is in place and it will forever be in place” because congressional Republicans “still haven’t fulfilled their promise” to repeal it.

Several pro-life organizations have expressed sadness and outrage, as well:

On Monday, the Family Research Council’s Om Narayanan wrote that the case revealed how “euthanasia has become woven into human society” worldwide. “This should be a warning signal to all of us,” he continued. “When a government can decide that a toddler should die because it is what is most convenient, we are less than one step away from totalitarianism.”

Conservative columnist Mark Steyn speculated that British authorities were driven to end Alfie’s life not by their stated rationale, but by a “determination to teach British parents who's really in charge.” He further quipped that despite doctors’ diagnosis, “it is not the baby but Mother England that seems increasingly brain-dead, and for whom it might be kindest simply to unplug.”

Various conservative media personalities reacted to the news by stressing that Alfie was not merely “allowed to die,” but was “murdered.”

At Townhall, conservative radio host Kevin McCullough laid out a series of proposals for how to prevent future cases like Alfie’s, including work to defeat socialized healthcare; new legislation to protect parents’ rights in medical decisions; more religious leaders getting involved earlier, taking their objections as high as Prime Minister Theresa May or Queen Elizabeth; and stigmatizing indifference to or support for Alfie’s suffocation.

“Our abhorrence and even worse apathy towards the value of innocent human life is the worst strike against the character of this era of history. It rears itself in less noble ways all the time,” McCullough wrote. “But in Alfie’s case we are exposed for the self-obsessed, no-time-to-be-bothered, evil that we have been feeding on for a few generations.”

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