AUL President: Charlie’s Parents Call Int’l Support ‘Meaningful,’ Prepare for Thursday Hearing
As Charlie's parents prepare for a critical day in court, they say the international support has been "meaningful."
Charlie Gard’s parents expressed how “meaningful” it is that people around the world are rallying behind their fight to take their 11-month-old son to the U.S. for treatment.
Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster is in the U.K. helping to support Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates. She told The Stream they have expressed to her how encouraging the international support has been.
Gard and Yates are currently preparing for another day in court Thursday, where they will present evidence in favor of treating Charlie.
Charlie Gard: Brief Background
Charlie’s rare mitochondrial depletion syndrome makes it impossible for him to move or breathe on his own. Since 2016, his parents have raised nearly $2 million to take Charlie to the U.S. for treatment that may help. But his doctors at Gosh Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London contended he must be taken off life support.
For months, U.K. courts sided with the doctors. Last week in a surprise move, GOSH asked the High Court in London for the chance to examine some “fresh evidence.” They say two international hospitals and its researchers signed a letter saying there is now more evidence showing that a treatment called nucleoside therapy may work for Charlie. Experts have said it has an up to 10 percent chance of working.
The appeal for a new hearing came after Pope Francis and President Donald Trump publicly announced support for Charlie’s parents. Both the Vatican children’s hospital and a hospital in New York offered to take over Charlie’s care. But judge Nicholas Francis at the High Court said the high-profile “tweets” had nothing to do with his decision to rehear the case.
Hoping for a ‘Speedy Resolution’
After a short hearing Monday, Francis told Gard and Yates they had 48 hours to produce new evidence in favor of treating Charlie. In April Francis ruled that Charlie should be taken off life support, and he said it would take “new or dramatic” evidence to change his mind.
Foster said all parties are hoping for a “speedy resolution” following Thursday’s hearing. Dragging it out is not fair to Charlie, she said, who could have completed the proposed three-month round of treatment twice over by now.
Foster said the case is an important one for pro-life Americans to pay attention to.
“This impacts all of us,” she told The Stream. She said she has been involved in numerous cases in the U.S. regarding denial of care to patients, which is what Charlie’s parents are fighting. “Whether it happens in America or in another country, if there [are] parents who need help with that, it’s our responsibility.”
Up to now, Charlie’s doctors at GOSH have argued that the treatment proposed by a U.S. doctor has no chance of making a difference. They have also argued he may be in pain and that treatment would prolong his suffering.
But sources close to the family say there is no evidence that Charlie is in pain. Even the Supreme Court in the U.K. acknowledged they could not be certain Charlie is in pain. The proposed treatment would administered orally — it is not invasive. His parents want to try the treatment over a three-month period.
‘Join the Conversation’
If people would like to continue to support Charlie’s parents as they prepare for court Thursday, Foster suggested two things.
First, they can sign the AUL’s petition to bring Charlie to the U.S. The petition was presented to GOSH on Sunday with over 350,000 signatures. At the time this article was written on Wednesday, the petition had garnered over 460,000 names. “Momentum is building,” Foster said, and that momentum has been an important encouragement to Charlie’s parents.
Second, Foster wants people to take a picture holding a sign that says “#IAmCharlieGard,” and use the photo on one’s Facebook or Twitter profile. “Use that to join the conversation,” she said.
“He could be my child, or your child, or any one of us,” Foster said in an AUL press release Monday. “The life and death struggle facing Charlie’s parents could happen to anyone, which is why we are fighting alongside them for their right to determine their son’s welfare.”