The tragedy of the Charlie Gard case in the United Kingdom continued on Thursday, with a judge making the final ruling that the 11-month-old suffering from a terminal illness will be moved to a hospice for his last days.
The decision came after a hospital – and the courts all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights – decided Charlie would be better off dead.
His parents gave up their court fight to move him to America for an experimental treatment this week when they were told that the time used by the hospital’s court fight – many months – consumed all of the time during which the treatment might have helped their son.
Now a team of experts on parental rights, and related child rights, is asking President Trump to get the United States out of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
That, officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association warn, could be used – and already is being used elsewhere – to allow the government to take over decisions that parents should be making.
The group’s letter to the White House said, “The Charlie Gard situation highlights the stark difference between our national values and those of internationalists who believe that government bureaucrats and the courts should decide how children should be raised, and even whether a life is worth living.”
The HSLDA notes that the Clinton administration signed the convention, but it never was ratified by the Senate.
The international strategy “elevates government bureaucrats over parents in deciding what is in a child’s ‘best interests.’ It is this same standard that has enabled bureaucrats and courts in the United Kingdom to overrule the wishes of Charlie Gard’s own parents,” the letter explained.
But the document threatens “our nation’s sovereignty, to parental rights, and to homeschool freedom.”
“Under the Supremacy Clause found in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, treaties ratified by the U.S. Senate become ‘the supreme law of the land.’ We fear that if the U.S. Senate ever ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, it would only be a matter of time before cases like Charlie Gard’s in the United Kingdom were common-place on our own shores.”
The solution, the letter said, is for the president to withdraw the U.S. as a signatory of the document.
“Withdrawing the United States … would ensure that no family in our nation would ever need to fear going through the ordeal that Charlie Gard and his family are currently undergoing.”
HSLDA’s William Estrada explained, “When courts and medical authorities in England can overrule parents’ wishes and declare it is in the best interest of a child to let him die, it’s time to redouble efforts to protect parental rights here in America.”
Charlie Gard was born with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a rare genetic condition which affects neurological and muscular development, and he’s been treated at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital since October.
But the hospital requested, and the British courts decided, that he should be removed from life support.
His parents wanted to bring him to the U.S. for an experimental treatment but the U.K. courts forbade them to move him.
They gave up their court battle just this week when they learned that the treatment possibly could have greatly helped their son had it been started months ago. But those months were consumed by the hospital’s court fight to let the child die.
The latest decision on Thursday was that Charlie must be kept in a hospice, and his parents will not be allowed to take him home for his last days, or hours.
Charlie’s parents said, after it became apparent that time had run out for their son, “A whole lot of time has been wasted.”
“We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to just lie in hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought,” the parents’ said. “Tragically having had Charlie’s medical notes reviewed by independent experts, we now know had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal healthy little boy. Despite his condition in January, Charlie’s muscles were in pretty good shape and far from showing irreversible catastrophic structural brain damage.”
Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo who has been in London assisting the Gard family with their court case, agreed.
“The U.K. medical and legal fields let Charlie languish and deteriorate to the point where treatments that have worked for other children like him no longer had a chance,” Schindler said. “Charlie Gard is a victim of a culture of medical indifference that turned out to be as corrosive and ultimately lethal as was his underlying genetic condition.”
“I remember the comfort my family received from the tremendous popular support we received from people all around the world,” he told WND.com.
Schiavo died in 2005 after a court ordered removal of her feeding tube and water at the request of her husband. Since then, Schindler has devoted himself to defending medically vulnerable people.
WND reported earlier this year on the 12th anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo. The media and her husband, Michael Schiavo, asserted Terri was in a “persistent vegetative state,” but her parents and brother, Bobby Schindler, insisted otherwise, claiming she was able to swallow, laugh and express love for her family.
In 1990, Terri, at age 26, collapsed in her St. Petersburg, Florida, home for a reason that still hasn’t been explained and was taken to a hospital by first responders who feared she was dead. She was comatose for a time, then started responding and was moved to a care center. Her family members say she was getting better before her court-ordered starvation.
WND has been reporting on the Terri Schiavo story since 2002. Read WND’s unparalleled, in-depth coverage of her life-and-death fight, including more than 150 original stories and columns.