U.S. Pro-life Leaders: ‘We Are All Charlie Gard’

U.S. pro-life leaders are calling upon the British government to allow the parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard to privately seek further treatment for their son according to their own wishes as his parents.

“I am Charlie. We all are Charlie,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life during a press conference Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “It could be my child, or your child, or any one of us.”

The pro-life leaders expressed sadness that institutions – such as a hospital and courts – that were designed to protect the vulnerable are now deciding that death is in the best interests of a young child, and that his parents should not have a say in his care.

“This is what happens when you have laws designed to promote death over life, when you have a court willing to promote death over life,” said Foster, adding:

There is a lot of medical evidence that has not yet been released to the public. But we know that when that starts to come out, the tide will begin to turn. And public pressure is building, from the pope, to President Trump, to 37 European parliamentarians, to Cher!

 

Foster said she and a delegation from the U.S. are leaving for the U.K. Thursday night to add their voices to Charlie’s parents and their supporters. She said Charlie has a “right to life” and his parents have the right to fight for his life.

Though Charlie’s parents have raised some $1.7 million from private sources to bring Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome – a very rare genetic disease – to the U.S. to receive an experimental treatment, the 11-month-old baby remains at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he is slated to be removed from life support per the decision of the hospital and the orders of the courts.

“Who are we to decide? Who do we think we are, that we decide who gets to live and who doesn’t, whose life is valuable and whose is not?” asked Concerned Women for America CEO and president Penny Young Nance during the press conference.

“This is way beyond our pay grade,” Nance continued. “This is a matter for God, and it’s certainly a matter for loving parents who love their child. We just humbly come before the sovereign nation of the U.K. and say, ‘Reconsider.’”

The hospital states it has exhausted all its options for treating Charlie, but the baby has no access to the treatment his parents have been offered and desire since both the U.K. domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights have rejected all of their pleas to remove Charlie from the hospital, even a request to allow the baby to return home with them for his final hours.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, related the tragic situation of Charlie Gard to the current highly contentious debate over health care in the United States:

As we are hotly debating health care here in the United States, some of the most critical questions arise, such as “When does life begin?” “How can we best defend, protect life from the moment of conception?” and we also need to consider as we’re looking at this, “Who has the right to decide when to end treatment for someone who is terminally ill?”

March for Life has launched a petition to raise awareness and gather support for Charlie and his parents.

President Donald Trump has already offered to assist Connie Yates and Chris Gard, Charlie’s parents. As the Daily Mail reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House’s request on Friday. The agenda is reported to include discussion about Charlie’s care. The two leaders are attending the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said, by reaching out to Charlie’s parents, Trump “is showing us the leadership of a president and the kindness and strength of a loving father.”

“We insist that the British government intervene, respect the love and authority of his parents, and force the hospital to discharge little Charlie Gard,” Dannenfelser added. “Whose ethics will prevail in the case of Charlie Gard? His parents fighting for his life? Or a hospital fighting against so-called ‘futile care?’ Medical authoritarian rule or parental rights and responsibility?”

Family Research Council’s Arina Grossu, director of the Center for Human Dignity, said the British government, the courts, and the hospital are holding Charlie “hostage.”

“This is a case about parental rights coming into conflict with socialized medicine,” she added. “Who should decide what’s in the best interest of Charlie? His parents. Not the courts. Not the hospital. Not the government.”

“We must protect the rights of parents to make decisions for their children’s health — decisions that are based with best interests in mind,” Grossu said. “We must protect Charlie, the most vulnerable person among us.”


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