LONDON, England, June 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — All Chris Gard and Connie Yates want is for their little boy to be given a chance. Instead, Great Ormond Street Hospital has won its lawsuit to force him to remain untreated and disconnect his life support.
The long legal battle for 10-month-old Charlie Gard’s life has gone as far as it can go. After appealing through the English court system all the way to the Supreme Court, Chris Gard and Connie Yates put their son’s life in the hands of the European Court of Human Rights. Now they, too, have ruled Charlie must “die with dignity.”
Charlie was born August 4, 2016, with a rare disease causing progressive muscle weakness and brain damage, and he was put in intensive care. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital decided there was nothing they could do.
But Chris and Connie did not give up on their baby’s life. They discovered an experimental therapy for Charlie’s condition being offered in the United States and started a fundraising campaign online to take him there.
With 83,000 donations pouring in that totaled £1.3 million, that is more than what they need to take Charlie to America and pay specialists for his treatment.
British judges, however, stopped the parents from taking their son for potentially life-saving care. The courts felt the experimental therapy was not a realistic hope, and Charlie’s suffering would only be prolonged if his parents were allowed to seek the treatment.
A High Court judge agreed in April, as did the Court of Appeal in May.
Attorneys reasoned before the Supreme Court that parents should be able to decide what is best for their children and give them experimental treatment.
“We say Charlie is being deprived of his liberty at Great Ormond Street Hospital,” the parents’ lawyers argued. “The state is not entitled to cause a child’s life to be extinguished.”
Nevertheless, last week the Supreme Court dismissed the parents’ appeal, allowing the hospital to shut down Charlie’s life support within 24 hours, pending the European Court of Human Rights’ concurrence.
Outside the courtroom, Connie tearfully screamed, “How can they do this to us?!”
Chris explained that his son is “not in any pain or suffering,” and to take him for care in the U.S. would not cause him to suffer more. “They are lying,” Connie insisted. “Why don’t they tell the truth?”
Charlie’s last hope was the European Court of Human Rights. On Tuesday, that group of arbiters declared “the decision is final,” because it was not their place to second-guess “the competent domestic authorities.”
On Thursday, the parents posted on Facebook, “We’re not allowed to choose if our son lives and we’re not allowed to choose when or where Charlie dies.”
“We promised our little boy every single day that we would take him home,” Connie told the Daily Mail. “We want to give him a bath at home, put him in a cot which he has never slept in, but we are now being denied that.”
“We begged them to give us the weekend. Friends and family wanted to come and see Charlie for the last time,” she added. “Doctors said they would not rush to turn off his ventilator, but we are being rushed.”
Great Ormond Street Hospital issued a press release, stating, “Our priority is to provide every possible support to Charlie’s parents as we prepare for the next steps. There will be no rush by Great Ormond Street Hospital to change Charlie’s care and any future treatment plans will involve careful planning and discussion.”
There are supporters who still hold out hope in this life-or-death battle with the English government’s “justice” system.
An email account was created by one such supporter ([email protected]) with a plea to Pope Francis that anyone may sign. “Even non-Catholic can write to him,” Jen Nelson told LifeSiteNews via email. “If the Pope will speak on little Charlie’s behalf, it will reach millions of people around the world. He often does a public address every week.”
The Vatican did issue a statement this week. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, offered prayers for Charlie and his parents. “The matter of the English baby Charlie Gard and his parents has meant both pain and hope for all of us. We feel close to him, to his mother, his father, and all those who have cared for him and struggled together with him until now. For them, and for those who are called to decide their future, we raise to the Lord of Life our prayers, knowing that “in the Lord our labor will not be in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58)
But Paglia added, “We must also accept the limits of medicine and […] avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.”
Pro-lifers around the world that are concerned for parental rights are also being urged to comment on Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Facebook page in a last-ditch effort to apply public pressure to keep Charlie alive. Additionally, the family’s website (www.charliesfight.org) has a list of people to contact.
“As of now, he is still alive, but could be taken off of life support any day,” Nelson said. “People can storm the hospital with calls, emails, Facebook messages, and YouTube video comments asking them not to kill Charlie!”
“They have done this to other parents before,” Nelson charged. “It’s time they stop killing children against their parents’ wishes!”
“If this isn’t nipped in the bud, this euthanasia movement will only grow.”
“This little boy has the potential to protect other children who are facing the same type of forced euthanasia as we speak, and in the future,” Nelson added. “This will send a big message to their politicians as to the people wanting a respect for innocent human life!”
Facebook comments have poured in with pleas for Charlie’s life. Amye Marquis wrote, “My daughter was diagnosed at 13 months with (Charlie’s disease). I was told to let her die. We got her a trachea, a vent and a feeding tube. She was weaned off vent, goes to school and was given a chance at life. She just turned 4.”
Marquis added, “Every child should be given a right to fight, every parent should not have to live with ‘What If?’”
Sam Bennetts commented, “What saddens me more than anything (is) the parents of Charlie not only wanted to help their son by getting this treatment but to be the first to try it for the babies and families of the future, who will now no doubt be sentenced to the same outcome as Charlie Gard.”