WASHINGTON, D.C., December 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Vice President Pence met last week with the parents of Charlie Gard, the baby with a rare mitochondrial disease who was removed from life support despite his parents’ wishes.
Pence said it was an “honor” to welcome Charlie’s “courageous” parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, to the White House to “discuss the life and legacy of their son.”
An honor to welcome the courageous parents of little Charlie Gard, Chris and Connie, to the @WhiteHouse to discuss the life and legacy of their son. Their parental love and devotion to their son is inspiring and a reminder of how precious all lives are. pic.twitter.com/p1vjvpZNOc
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) December 15, 2017
Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, raised more than $1.5 million to transfer him to the U.S. for experimental treatment. But Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where he was being treated, thought Charlie's life support should be pulled against his parents' wishes.
A lengthy legal battle ensued, with English and European courts initially ruling that the hospital, not Charlie’s parents, could decide his course of care.
Pope Francis and President Trump both publicly expressed support for Charlie. Trump said he’d be “delighted” to help the baby. Members of European Parliament also threw their support behind the parental rights of Chris and Connie.
At the request of the UK high court, Dr. Michio Hirano, an American specialist, flew to England to examine Charlie. But Hirano examined Charlie a few months too late, when his muscles were too significantly deteriorated for treatment to help.
Had Charlie been allowed to be examined and treated by a doctor sooner, his parents said, he would “have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”
On July 24, 2017, Chris and Connie ended their legal battle, saying there had been “a whole lot of wasted time” that could have been used to help Charlie before his muscles further deteriorated.
A judge denied the parents their final request to be able to take Charlie home to die. He died after his ventilator was removed on July 28, 2017 in a hospice.
When Charlie was still alive, Pence said his parents should “be able to choose the greatest extent of life-saving treatment that’s available to their child.”
When Charlie died, the vice president offered “prayers and condolences” to the family.
A similar case is unfolding in Liverpool. The parents of baby Alfie Evans, who is unconscious and has a mysterious, undiagnosed disease, want to continue trying to treat him. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital wants to yank his life support.
The parents and court may reach an agreement or continue their battle in court, according to UK media. The court battle is on hold until after Christmas.