Over the last several days I’ve read a spate of articles and op-eds about the condition of baby Charlie Gard. After the initial outrage of the EU’s highest court denying Charlie’s parents the right to take their child to another country for medical care, the usual round of contrarian “you really don’t understand the real issue” posts began popping up.
The authors and sharers of these posts think that the public is misunderstanding the court’s decision. They say that Charlie’s prognosis is grim, he’s braindead, the hospital must weigh what’s right for suffering patient that will never recover against the enormous grief of suffering parents.
I find this argument to be rather condescending and ignorant of the real issue at hand.
This isn’t about Charlie’s chances to live. Anyone looking at the evidence and Charlie’s medical history can plainly see all signs point towards a sad ending. The doctors and hospital and even the high courts have come to the very reasonable conclusion that further medical intervention will not save this baby. He may not even have real brain function anymore. They aren’t wrong for recommending life support be removed.
But therein lies the rub. They are not simply recommending life support be removed. They are ordering two parents to remove the life support and watch their baby die. All choice has been removed from their hands in this matter.
Just try for one moment to imagine an anonymous court officer telling you that you are not empowered to make decisions for your child, but they are. Think about how outrageous you would find that.
Any parent arguing that the rest of us simply don’t understand the medical issue behind this is a hypocrite. Every parent realizes the moment they hold their baby in their arms that they will do anything to protect the life of that child.
Anything. Literally anything.
There is no way to describe that feeling, it can only be experienced, but it is visceral; it is real.
These parents are only doing what we’ve all said we would do for our own precious children – anything. In this case, they’ve done that “anything” all by themselves. They are not asking the government to cover the costs, they are not demanding more services or more more money or more doctors. The Gards have raised all the funds, arranged the medical staff and transportation. Their request is painfully simple –
Let us take our son somewhere.
Charlie might live or Charlie might die. Their efforts may be fruitless. That isn’t the point and I wish the self-righteous “compassionate” types would get off their high horses long enough to understand that the rest of us aren’t stupid. It isn’t that we just don’t “get it”. The problem is that this is a decision that every single one of us would fight to death to be allowed to make for our own babies. Every parent would. How does any man have the right to decide what is best for your own child?
The Gard family should be the only ones making the ultimate call on their son’s care. To suggest otherwise is terrifying. They have the right to make a choice, good or bad. This is their baby. Theirs.
The big problem with socialized medicine is that when the government controls your healthcare they can control any aspect of your daily life under the guise of “cost”. Although I loathe that argument, it would at least be reasonable in this case. The Gards are British and this is the reality of the system they voluntarily live in. That isn’t the case. In fact, it is costing the British government more money to deny the Gards the right to leave than it would just to release him and escort him out of the hospital.
The fact that this doesn’t at all bother the contrarian crowd really bothers me. Especially those who claim to fall on the side of pro-life. This is a faceless bureaucracy legislating death instead of empowering their free citizens to make their own choices (and arrangements) for their own children and their medical care. It is about forcing people to suffer in a system that was supposed to be all about helping in the first place.
I don’t want to hear anymore about how the medical issues are grossly misunderstood.
It isn’t about that in any way, shape or form so stop pretending it is. This is about the God-given rights of two parents who love their son more than any one of us bloviating on the issue and only want the right to do everything in their power to spend as much time with him on this earth as possible.
This is a story about love and the right to express it.