In recent weeks, you probably read about Charlie Gard and his fight for life. You can read in detail about his family’s story here, here, and most recently here. I am not going to rehash the story, but I would encourage you to visit the links provided and familiarize yourself with the Gard family.
As we await their hearing this week to see if Charlie’s mom and dad can choose to fly to the United States to participate in experimental treatment for their son, I think it is important that we reflect on the life narrative of the day.
The situation in front of us isn’t about parents for some conviction or another wishing to not treat their child. Instead, we have two parents seeking to explore every avenue available to save their child’s life.
Charlie’s parents disagree with the current hospital’s position as the hospital is usurping the wishes of these parents and fighting to end the life of this child in the name of dying with dignity. Never mind the loss of dignity these parents are facing as they watch theirs and their son’s rights being stripped.
I have made the argument over and over again that when we devalue life at its earliest stage via abortion and at its latest stage via doctor assisted suicide, then we ultimately devalue life at every stage in between. The Charlie Gard case simply provides more evidence to support this argument.
Charlie’s parents are looking down at their infant son with no remedy to offer. They have raised the necessary funds, connected with doctors around the globe, and begged the court with a petition (singed by over 300,000 people) to allow them to get the treatment needed.
All of these actions illustrate the love they have for their son. Yet, here we are sitting in limbo as we watch and wait for a court and a hospital to determine whether or not Charlie and his parents can seek out the treatment they feel is needed for his future care.
I can’t imagine what these parents are going through as they wait for a court’s decision. Their baby now sits on life-support waiting for his sentence. Is that dignity? Is that enlightenment? Is that what a civilized society does?
I am alarmed at the apathetic nature of many concerning this case. Who could blame these parents for wanting to provide every possible chance for their child to survive? Seeking out the assistance of other doctors should not be frowned upon. Fighting for the life and well-being of your child should be celebrated. Yet, it appears, their cries have fallen on deaf ears.
This is why the value of life is so important. When we as a society create a space for the choosing of some lives over other lives based on proximity, size, and/or development, then we have created a space designed for the destruction of life.
This is why the abortion narrative is so damaging. Instead of millions coming together to assist a family in need, we are left debating on the right of a family to seek the care at all. This is what happens when life is trampled on.
We are left with a mom and dad across the ocean who have the funds, the support, and the legal rights to protect and fight for their son, but all of that is void if a judge says otherwise.
This is why the issue we face is not one of simple choice. If that were the case this family would have been on an airplane to the States weeks ago. Instead, this is an issue of value. This family sees value in their son, riddled with disease or not, and they simply want an opportunity to provide for him the care needed. Can we blame them for that?
I pray the court does the right thing and allows this family an opportunity to fight for their son. Dying with dignity is mentioned a great deal nowadays, but we tend to neglect living with dignity. That has meaning as well. Let’s let this family live with dignity as they protect and fight for Charlie.
posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center