Connie Yates and Chris Gard, the parents of a critically ill 11-month-old British baby, are contesting a judge’s decision from April that has given Great Ormond Street Hospital in London permission to end the infant’s life.
The parents have two days (until Wednesday) to produce substantive evidence that would convince Judge Nicholas Francis to reverse his April ruling and allow the parents to seek treatment for their baby in the United States.
The child, Charlie Gard, suffers from a rare disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
Great Ormond Street Hospital has argued that prolonging the child’s life would create undue suffering, while the parents have argued that there is at least a ten percent chance that their child could live, according to The Christian Post.
When Connie Yates asked the judge if he would fight to save his own child’s life if given a ten percent chance, Judge Francis reportedly responded by saying, “I have to decide this case not on the basis of tweets, not on the basis of what might be said in the press, or to the press.”
Grant Armstrong, a spokesman for Gard’s parents, has raised concern over the judge’s moral fiber, but Francis countered by saying that “I don’t think there’s anyone involved who wouldn’t want to save Charlie. … I am at one with the 350,000 [who signed the petition supporting Charlie’s parents],” he said.
Among those in support of the child and his parents, Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster has said, “As a mother, I could not stand by as Charlie’s parents so bravely fought to seek life-saving care for their son.”
She added, “Here we have an institution created to serve the most vulnerable in our society and hired to care for little Charlie, and yet is battling his parents to strip them all of their rights. No matter how diverse and pluralistic we are as a culture, there is one thing that unites us all: the family.”
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