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Columnist: ‘Charlie Gard's Parents Aren’t Criminals, They’re Distraught Parents’

Columnist: ‘Charlie Gard's Parents Aren’t Criminals, They’re Distraught Parents’

By now, most of us have probably heard about the controversy surrounding the treatment of 11-month-old Charlie Gard.

Charlie suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease, which has resulted in brain damage and seizures. The UK hospital where he has spent his entire life, Great Ormond Street Hospital, appealed to the courts to have his life support withdrawn, and was granted their request.

Charlie’s parents, however, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, want to bring their son to the U.S. where an experimental treatment is available that, although unlikely, could possibly improve Charlie’s condition.

Yesterday, Judge Nicholas Francis gave Charlie’s parents and their legal team two more days to present “new and powerful evidence” that Charlie is not suffering in his current condition and that the new treatment could actually help him.

Charlie’s case has been thrown into the spotlight of the pro-life/euthanasia debate, but columnist Jonah Goldberg believes there is another fundamental issue at stake.

In an op-ed for, Goldberg makes a distinction between what is truly best for a child and the parents’ rights.

“If I were counseling them, I would suggest it's time [to say goodbye to Charlie]. But if I were their doctor or one of the judges presiding over the case, I would let them take their baby for treatment,” writes Goldberg.

Ultimately, this case is about parental rights, says Goldberg. Should Chris and Connie be subject to the UK doctors or government as far as the fate of their son, or should they be able to do what they believe is best for him?

“Charlie's parents aren't criminals, they're distraught parents,” continues Goldberg. “And parents have rights. They aren't absolute rights. Parents can't kill their children or let them die through inaction.

But the state can.

Societies depend on the principle that parents are their children's best guardians. It's appalling for the state -- particularly one that runs the health-care system -- to claim that it, not the loving parents, have the final say.”


Photo courtesy: GoFundMe/Charlie Gard

Publication date: July 12, 2017