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Connie Yates and Chris Gard hold son Charlie.

SIGN THE PETITION: Support Charlie Gard, forced off life support by judge

LONDON, England, July 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – It's unlikely the UK judge in charge of Charlie Gard's case will decide the 11-month-old's fate today. Important evidence in favor of keeping Charlie alive is being presented, and the courtroom has already become tense, resulting in Charlie's parents briefly leaving after the judge misrepresented a quote from Charlie's father.

Charlie has a rare mitochondrial disease and is on a ventilator. 

There has been a lengthy legal battle over whether Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) or Charlie's parents have the right to decide on his treatment, with the former trying to pull the baby's life support and the latter wanting to move him elsewhere for experimental treatment. English courts and the European Court of Human Rights both sided with the hospital even though Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have raised more than $1 million from private donations to transfer him to the U.S. 

The judge suggested Charlie's parents don't want to keep him alive if there's no hope of improvement.

“When Mr. Justice Francis referred to previous comments by Charlie’s father to the effect that he would not want his son to continue living in his current condition were there no prospect of improvement, Gard and Yates suggested that was inaccurate,” reported The Guardian. “Yates said that they did not believe Charlie was suffering. Gard then angrily stormed out, closely followed by his wife.”

Today in court, Team Charlie introduced evidence from Boston Children's Hospital saying that Charlie's diagnosis doesn't mean he has irreversible brain damage. 

Connie testified that she measured Charlie's head and its circumference has grown by 2 centimeters. The judge ordered the hospital to provide evidence of Charlie's head size by tomorrow. He said his understanding was that lack of skull growth indicates brain damage. 

Dr. Michio Hirano of New-York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center testified via video just after 2:00 p.m. London time (9:00 a.m. EST). 

Doctors said Charlie doesn't seem to be in pain right now and if his muscles are helped to improve then his brain might as well. They said Charlie's chance of “clinically meaningful success” will be between 11 and 56 percent. 

Gregory Mertz of CitizenGO and Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life live-tweeted the court proceedings. They are there with other human rights activists helping Charlie's parents. 

Charlie's case has captured international attention, with Pope Francis and President Trump both supporting Charlie and his parents. Politicians in European Parliament have also demanded Charlie be allowed to receive care. At least two hospitals in the U.S. and one run by the Vatican have offered to treat Charlie. 

Two U.S. Congressmen are introducing a bill to make Charlie a permanent U.S. resident so that it will be easier for him to come to the U.S. 

Nearly half a million people have signed a pro-Charlie petition to the hospital. On Sunday, his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, delivered 350,000 signatures to the hospital.

On Monday, July 10, the High Court agreed to hear “fresh evidence” in favor of not removing Charlie from life support. The hospital had asked the court to reconsider the case, but then asked for it to be dismissed. It was this fresh evidence that was presented today.

“If he’s still fighting, we’re still fighting,” Connie said on Sunday, pointing out there is “nothing to lose” by letting Charlie be transferred elsewhere for experimental treatment. “He’s our son. He’s our flesh and blood. We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life.”

The hospital only brought the case back to court because if it didn't, it could have faced possible “judicial review.” The hospital maintains that Charlie should not be allowed to be transferred elsewhere for treatment.

A lawyer for the hospital has previously argued that Charlie's life support should be unplugged is because if it's not, he will remain in a “condition of existence” that doesn't benefit him and would be “inhuman” to continue.

Connie says her son is “not in pain and suffering.”

The parents of children who faced similar diagnoses to Charlie have spoken out in favor of his parents' rights to continue his treatment. One father supporting the Gard family had a daughter with the same condition as Charlie who lived to be 15. As the Daily Mail reported, a six-year-old American “has virtually the same genetic condition and is fighting it with the pioneering drugs therapy that is being denied to Charlie.” 

Protestors in support of Charlie gathered outside the court today.


LifeSiteNews will continue to provide updates as the case progresses.