Pro-life leaders are calling on the British Government to reverse what they see as a “death sentence” decision by courts with opinions containing language similar to the “compassion of the gas chamber.”
Leaders of the pro-life movement addressed the case of 11-month-old British baby Charlie Gard at a Washington, D.C. press conference Thursday. The speakers included Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Young Nance, Americans United for Life’s Catherine Glenn Foster, March for Life’s Jeanne Mancini, Family Research Council’s Arina Grossu and Students for Life of America’s Tina Whittington. Video below.
As an infant, Charlie was diagnosed with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). Among other things, the rare genetic condition and brain damage has left Charlie deaf and blind, subject to seizures and unable to move his limbs or breathe on his own.
Charlie could lose life support any day. After his doctors suggested removing his ventilator, parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates sought permission to bring their baby to the U.S. for experimental therapy. But, “in Charlie’s best interests,” court after court sided with the London doctors. Last week, the parents lost their final legal appeal, despite raising £1.3 million for Charlie and finding an American specialist to treat him.
Following the pro-life press conference, the news broke that Charlie has another chance: in light of “new evidence,” a U.K. court recently agreed to rehear his case Thursday.
While America’s major networks initially kept quiet on Charlie’s story, that changed when President Donald Trump weighed in with a tweet – pushing the story into a national spotlight. Coverage, the pro-life leaders stressed to MRC Culture, that is "vital."
In her opening of the press conference, Dannenfelser acknowledged the president’s role in drawing attention to the story.
“President Trump is showing us the leadership of a president and the kindness and strength of a loving father in the case of baby Charlie Gard,” she stressed. Speaking for the leaders, she added, “We insist that the British government intervene.”
“Whose baby is Charlie?” she asked. “Children are not the property of any state or any institution. They’re not even ‘owned’ by their parents, because they are not commodities to be owned.”
In agreement, Young Nance stressed that Charlie’s case is a “matter for God” and “certainly a matter” for his parents.
“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?” Young Nance warned.
During her speech, Glenn Foster hinted that more details on the case would soon be released.
“There is a lot of medical evidence that has not yet been released to the public,” she revealed. “But we know when that starts to come out, that the tide will begin to turn.”
“You can’t imagine President Trump and Cher being on the same page about much. But they are when it comes to little Charlie Gard,” she stressed. “And it’s true. I am Charlie. We all are Charlie. It could be my child, or your child, anyone one of us.”
Along with other pro-life leaders, Glenn Foster publicized that she is traveling to the U.K. to help with the case after a “series of meetings with White House officials” Thursday. Following the press conference, Glenn Foster stressed that the “court ruling does not require the hospital to remove care, it simply allows them and gives them the authority to remove care.”
Echoing Glenn Foster, Whittington repeated, “We’re all Charlie.”
The British government, she said, has “issued him basically a definitive death sentence.” “This is a fight, not just for Charlie’s life, but I’m telling you, this sets a precedent for our world.”
During press questions, Dannenfelser added to Whittington’s comment. John Wesley Reid, representing the Christian Broadcasting Network, asked about Lord Justice McFarlane, an Appeal Court judge whose opinion contained “compassionate rhetoric” for Charlie and parents -- even though he sided with Charlie’s doctors.
“What you just described, I believe, is what [writer] Walker Percy called the compassion of the gas chamber,” Dannenfelser said. “The lovely words, the desire to save from harm ... save someone from expense, emotion, sadness, is not equivalent to the compassion that saves lives.”
Last, but not least, Mancini and Grossu pointed to today’s healthcare debate.
“As we’re hot in the debate for healthcare here in the United States, some of the most critical questions arise, such as when does life begin?” Mancini highlighted. “Who has the right to decide when to end treatment for someone who’s terminally ill? Is it the state or is it the family?”
“Every life is a gift,” she added, before pointing to her organization’s petition for Charlie Gard to be released.
Grossu issued a message for the British government, courts and hospital.
“You are holding him hostage,” Grossu said. “This is a case about parental rights coming in conflict with socialized medicine.”
“The treatment is simple oral medication,” she added. “Why is Charlie being held hostage in this hospital?”
While other patients have been allowed to successfully transfer to other hospitals in similar cases, this one was different, Dannenfelser confirmed.
That’s because, she said, “This hospital has dug in and said, ‘No. He will die and he will die here.’”