Physician-assisted suicide is being packaged as a “dignified”, “self-affirming” choice for people to end their suffering by ending their lives. In some cases, like the book/movie, “Me Before You,” choosing death is even glamorized and romanticized. But what about court-ordered death? Such is the case of Charlie Gard, the 10-month-old baby in the United Kingdom who has a rare mitochondrial disease, and who is having his life support withdrawn today after his parents lost their appeal to transport him to America for an experimental treatment.
Due to his condition, Charlie cannot breathe on his own, has seizures, and suffered severe brain damage as a result of his disease. Doctors told Charlie's parents earlier this year that they felt they could do no more to treat him, and recommended they withdraw life support.
But Charlie’s parents wanted to try to save him. They heard about an experimental treatment in America that could possibly help. Apparently a lot of people supported them in this hope because they helped Charlie's parents raise over $1 million to move him to the US for treatment.
Well, too bad, according to the European Court of Human Rights: it ruled against Charlie’s parents earlier this week, denying them the right to seek the treatment they want to try for their son. The reason? The court said that they did not believe the experimental treatment would benefit Charlie, and that it would cause him "significant harm." So they ordered Charlie's ventilator be removed instead.
It’s bad enough that a court is telling Charlie’s parents they cannot try at least one more time to help their son, but worse, the court won’t even let the parents take their son home to die there. They are being denied even this dignity, while the hospital is rushing to remove the ventilator.
There are few words to describe the barbaric nature of this cruelty. While the court takes it upon itself to decide that a baby should die on the court's terms, couldn’t the court at least allow the parents to decide the location of their son's death on their own terms?
This whole situation is a frightening commentary on how bureaucrats’ are increasingly taking it upon themselves to decide who gets to live and die, while trying to cloak it as compassion for the suffering. But is it compassion or simply a court-sanctioned co-opting of human life?