There doesn’t need to be a lot of discussion of this one. The clarity of the moral issue is obvious to anyone with a conscience.
The British National Health Service decided earlier this year that it would do no good for his parents to take 10-month-old Charlie Gard to the United States for an experimental treatment. The baby boy suffers from a rare genetic condition, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, and his doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital want to withdraw life support so little Charlie can – quoting here – “die with dignity.”
His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have raised more than £1.3 million via a GoFundMe site to make the trek to the U.S.
Their prospects are dim, to be sure. They did cite the American doctor who had agreed to try the treatment in their appeal to authorities:
[A]n American doctor who has agreed to attempt a pioneering treatment for his mitochondrial disorder, said that it was “reasonable” to attempt to save his life and if he were in a hospital in the USA his parents would have the option.
But there are, of course, no guarantees. The British doctors are probably taking into account the fact that Charlie has already incurred brain damage, and would never have a normal life.
Still, it is unacceptable under any circumstances for the UK’s highest court, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), to rule that the parents must submit to the will of the National Health Service, and be literally prohibited from taking their baby to America for treatment. Yet that’s what has happened.
The British taxpayer won’t have to pay for the trip or the treatment. If the taxpayer were on the hook, it would be an awful moral conundrum for the managers of public services. But the taxpayer is not on the hook.
The taxpayer might be on the hook, of course, to support a brain-damaged, disabled Charlie Gard if he responded to the treatment.
Learn from this, dear friends, that when a national health service has to take such things into account, its choice will be to require the patient to “die with dignity.”
And that means require. The NHS has decided that this baby must die. And the UK High Court and the ECHR agree with that.
Keep in mind, when the Great Ormond Street Hospital says, “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,” that the hospital itself petitioned the High Court to remove life support (see UK Telegraph article, above). It doesn’t matter whether there is a “rush.” The parents, and now the public, already know what the hospital intends to do.
Note, moreover, that this case is different from the Terry Schiavo case in Florida. In the Schiavo case, Terry Schiavo’s husband, Michael Schiavo, was her legal guardian under long-established law, and it was he who made the decision that she should be taken off her feeding tube. While acknowledging major arguments at the time – such as that a feeding tube is not, technically, an artificial life-support measure, and that the case was so freighted because Terry’s parents disagreed with (and distrusted) Michael Schiavo – the salient point is that the law eventually upheld his right as her husband to make the decision.
That’s the exact opposite of what’s going on in the Gard case. The parents are being prohibited from making the decision they have worked to find the funding for. Instead, the national health service is usurping their parental rights – and the courts of Europe are certifying that this somehow results in “human rights” being upheld.
This is what happens when you turn health care over to a “single payer” system. It is not kind. It is not compassionate. It is not hopeful, loving, or even respectful of your God-given rights. It is calculating and mandatory. And its choice will always be in favor of death.