Independence Day and Charlie Gard

It is the 4th of July.  I had not planned on writing anything today but the case of Charlie Gard just keeps running through my mind.  I think of those words in our Declaration of Independence – “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Charlie Gard is a ten month old in Great Britain. He has a rare disease for which there is no proven cure and there is no life expectancy.  There is an experimental treatment in the United States.

The experimental treatment is just that, experimental.  For all intents and purposes, there is little hope that the infant would survive.

The parents have raised the funds.  President Trump has offered the support of the United States.  The Pope has expressed support for the parents and offered a Vatican hospital. .

The Children’s Hospital in London has refused.  Instead they have obtained an order to have life support removed so that the child will die.  The parents have appealed and have even been told that they could not take the child home to die at home.

Ironically, the latest, and presumably final, decision came from the European Court of Human Rights.  Here is what the Court of Human Rights had to say,

“The domestic courts concluded that it would be lawful for the hospital to withdraw life sustaining treatment because it was likely that Charlie would suffer significant harm if his present suffering was prolonged without any realistic prospect of improvement, and the experimental therapy would be of no effective benefit,”

In the opinion of the court, the experimental therapy would be of no “effective benefit.” So, the alternative to an experimental therapy is a course of action that ends in death.

What will happen to Charlie when they withdraw life sustaining treatment?  He will die.

The court’s reasoning is absurd. Is there something left out of the story that explains why the parents do not have custody?

What is the government’s basis for interfering in this family issue? Even if the experimental treatment fails, there may be some knowledge gained from it that will help save lives in the future.

The case of Charlie Gard is not a matter under US jurisdiction. So what does it have to do with the 4th of July?

The Declaration of Independence puts forth the truth that Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are unalienable rights. These rights are not at the whim of human government. They are endowed by our Creator.

The British government should acknowledge the basic human right of life. There is a glimmer of hope for Charlie in the experimental treatment.  The alternative is the finality of death. Charlie Gard has the right to life. Let him live.

Signature-Donald E. Cole

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