Rep. Trent Franks: British Judiciary Holding Charlie Gard ‘Hostage’

Connie Yates (L) and Chris Gard, parents of terminally-ill 10-month-old Charlie Gard, pose with a petition of signatures supporting their case, prior to delivering it to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in central London on July 9, 2017.
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty

A U.S. lawmaker who has proposed legislation to grant legal permanent status to critically ill baby Charlie Gard and his parents says under the UK system of government-run health care, the British judiciary is holding the baby “hostage.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) writes at Fox News:

[D]octors and the judiciary have said that, not only is there no hope, but rather than release Charlie to the care of his parents, they have also omnisciently decided to literally hold him hostage – insisting not only that Charlie must die but that he also must be in their “care” when he does. It is a case that rocks America to our core, because if something like this can happen across the pond, it can certainly happen here.

Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, were not only not permitted to take their son elsewhere for potential life-extending treatment, but the courts also rejected their request to have their son brought home, to spend his final hours with them there.

Only after urging from around the world, including from Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, for Charlie’s parents to be able to make their own healthcare decisions for their son, did the Great Ormond Street Hospital agree to apply for another hearing in the case, while still maintaining it stands by its original opinion that, given the severity of Charlie’s condition, he should be allowed to die.

Now, a High Court British judge has told Charlie’s parents they have until Wednesday afternoon to submit “new and powerful evidence” that shows their son should be kept on life support to receive experimental treatment, possibly in the United States or in Italy.

As Breitbart London reported:

Referencing support for baby Charlie received by U.S. President Donald Trump, the judge said: “This is not a new case. [Great Ormond Street Hospital] are worried that damage is being done to Charlie. I have to decide this case…I must decide this case on evidence, not tweets.”

“America and the U.K. both believe that the very purpose of government is to protect innocent human life because we share a common Western heritage marked by something very simple: we deeply value all life, regardless of its ‘potential,’ or the economic output an individual might contribute to society,” says Franks, who co-chairs the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “Ultimately, the human family is held together by this core commitment – or it rapidly disintegrates into survival of the fittest.”

“The moment a human life can begin to be measured on a sliding scale – when lawmakers and doctors decide what ‘life is unworthy of life’ – this is the moment our humanity itself begins to unravel,” he adds, referring to the idea of government or the judiciary making such decisions as “barbarity.”

Other U.S. pro-life leaders have gone to London to offer support to Charlie’s parents and promote awareness that, with these forms of government that give preference to the state over the individual, any critically ill baby could be at the mercy of a hospital, a government, or a judiciary for his or her life.

In London, Americans United for Life (AUL) president & CEO Catherine Glenn Foster says Charlie Gard “still has a fighting chance.”

“International attention has been focused on this brave couple, Connie and Chris, fighting for the life of their son and for him to be given a fighting chance at life,” she said in a statement. “I will remain in London calling for the rights of parents to make decisions for their children’s care, and for hospital officials to open their doors and let Charlie’s parents seek groundbreaking new treatment for their son.”

Foster continued:

I am Charlie. We all are Charlie. He could be my child, or your child, or any one of us. The life and death struggle facing Charlie’s parents could happen to anyone, which is why we are fighting alongside them for their right to determine their son’s welfare.

Another hearing is set for Thursday to hear new evidence on Charlie’s condition and treatment options.

“There is not a person alive who would not want to save Charlie,” Mr. Justice Francis said, in agreeing to a new hearing, reports The Sun. “If there is new evidence, I will hear it. If you bring new evidence to me and I consider that evidence changes the situation … I will be the first to welcome that outcome.”

Charlie suffers from a very rare genetic disorder, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which can lead to weakened muscles, brain damage, and organ dysfunction, and, though his parents have raised sufficient funds privately for additional treatment and hospitals in both the United States and Italy have volunteered their services, London hospital officials have refused to allow the infant to be released to his parents.

In the United States, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, also launched a prayer campaign for Charlie.

“On Thursday, Baby Charlie Gard’s parents will have to prove to a court that an experimental medical treatment might help their son,” Pavone said in a statement. “This is outrageous. The decision on Charlie’s medical future should not be in the hands of a court. This is clearly an instance when parental rights must prevail.”

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