Pro-lifers to protest, pray for baby Charlie Gard at British embassy
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life activists will protest outside the British embassy at 6:00 p.m. tonight in solidarity with Charlie Gard. The 11-month-old UK baby's parents are fighting to keep him on life support despite court orders that his hospital pull the plug when they want.
The pro-life activists may head to London afterward to do whatever possible to keep Charlie alive and allow him to be transferred elsewhere.
Pro-lifers protested on behalf of Charlie outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie's parents, have been fighting in European courts for their right to bring him to the U.S. for experimental treatment for his rare muscle and brain disease. They raised over $1.6 million to do this, but English courts sided with the hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital, which wants to remove him from life support.
Then, the European Court of Human Rights also sided with Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie currently is. Charlie was scheduled to die on Friday, June 30, but his parents have been granted more time with him. They've not been allowed to even bring him home to die there.
The case has captured the world's attention. Pope Francis and President Trump have both expressed their solidarity with Charlie's parents. Trump said he'd be "delighted" to help save Charlie. A Vatican hospital offered to treat Charlie, but then said Great Ormond Street Hospital refused this offer.
"At any time the hospital could make the decision" to cease Charlie's life support, British embassy protest organizer Rev. Patrick Mahoney told LifeSiteNews. "There’s nothing stopping the hospital from making this decision except public pressure, prayer, and their desire to do the right thing."
What's at stake here is "universal," Mahoney said. "That issue is, will parents be at the center of making decisions for their children? Or will those decisions be ripped from them by hospital officials, judges, and government bureaucrats?"
"This is not a liberal, conservative, or political issue at all. It’s a human rights issue," he continued. "It’s the simple notion that parents should not be excluded and shut out from making critical decisions that impact the health and future of their children."
Mahoney is an international social, political, and human rights activist, and an ordained minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church. His past activism has included sleeping in dumpsters in New England to draw attention to the plight of the homeless, establishing and operating soup kitchens, food pantries, and emergency shelters for the needy across America, and assisting in the development of a program to ship medical supplies to war-torn Central America.
He's also helped establish safe homes and shelters for women dealing with domestic violence. Mahoney was the first American to walk the Dublin to Belfast road for peace in Ireland. He helped rebuild border roads with Northern Irish farmers and has worked extensively on racial reconciliation issues and Christian-Muslim dialogue throughout America.
Mahoney said he and a team of pro-life activists may head to England to assist with efforts to save Charlie.
"We are awaiting word from the family" as to whether Mahoney should "bring a team over to London as soon as tomorrow to help this situation."
"We live in such a polarized, partisan world," said Mahoney. "To have Pope Francis, President Trump, and Cher all agree on something is I don’t think anything short of miraculous."
Cher has been the latest well-known figure to weigh in on behalf of Charlie. If the "USA can save precious Charlie Gard," then "send him [to] us," the entertainer tweeted, also blasting the notion that institutions have the "right" to "flip [the] switch on beloved" children.
"We are gathering at the British embassy late this afternoon to do the one thing that can transform and shape history: and that is pray," said Mahoney. "We are asking God to intervene on this, to protect Charlie, to allow his parents to pursue the medical options that they consider best for him, and we are also standing as a public witness...the intrusion of governmental and legal entities into what should be the private rights of parents" is a "global issue."
"The parents have raised over $1.6 million dollars," he continued. "They want to take Charlie to America to get experimental treatment which has worked on other children with his rare mitochondrial disease. And the hospital and the courts are saying you’re not allowed to do that."
"This is very reminiscent of what happened with Justina Pelletier, baby Joseph in Canada, and in many ways, Terri Schiavo," said Mahoney. "And this is a growing concern. We have to realize it’s not just an American issue, but it’s a global issue."