President Donald Trump added his voice to that of Pope Francis in offering aid to the parents of Charlie Gard -- a brain-damaged British baby boy. Charlie’s parents recently lost a legal battle with the European Court of ……, which refused their request to allow them to take their son to the United States for critical medical care. In a Monday tweet, Trump wrote, “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.” On Sunday, the Vatican released a statement that said the Pope "expresses his closeness to his [Charlie's] parents."
The statement added, "For them he prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored." The statement came on the day that demonstrators protested outside Buckingham Palace in opposition to the ruling to withdraw Charlie's life-sustaining treatment.
Trump’s tweet was broadcast just days before Trump will take his second foreign trip. He will meet other leaders of the G-20 in Germany. It is likely that Trump will see British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Charlie’s parents -- Chris and Connie -- have fought in the British courts to keep him on life support. Because physicians at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, where Charlie has received care, obtained permission to shut off necessary life support, Charlie’s parents want to bring him to the US for experimental treatment. Life support may be turned off on Friday. In addition, the hospital has announced that it has unspecified plans to give the 11-month-old baby and his parents “more time together as a family.”
Born in August 2016, Charlie was diagnosed with infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The condition means that Charlie’s brain, muscle and breathing abilities are “severely affected.” In addition, Charlie shows congenital deafness and severe epilepsy, according to a professor who testified before Britain’s High Court that decided the case. Physicians claim that Charlie cannot see, hear, move, cry, or swallow.
I have contacted my office in Strasbourg, France to intervene in support of baby #CharlieGard 's family. We must always fight for life.— Jay Sekulow (@JaySekulow) July 3, 2017
On June 27, Charlie's parents lost their final legal appeal to take him to the US for experimental treatment when judges at the European Court of Human Rights concluded that further treatment would "continue to cause Charlie significant harm," thus concurring with advice from specialists at Great Ormond Street. In addition, Charlie’s parents have said that Great Ormond Street Hospital denied them a request to take their son home to die. They feel "let down" by the legal dispute.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates have raised more than £1.3 million toward experimental treatment for Charlie. Yates has said that if Charlie “did not get his chance,” the money collected would be given to charity.
Commenting on the case, the Catholic Herald of the UK warned that Charlie Gard's case represents a further extension of state control:
"In this country and many others, there has been a total inversion of the relationship between parents and public services
"The ongoing ordeal of Charlie Gard and his parents has exposed to international scrutiny the extent to which the authority of parents has become completely suborned to the state, which now has the power of life and death over children.
"The situation, in which doctors, legislators, and every level of the judiciary, up to and including the farcically misnamed European Court of Human Rights, have linked arms to deny two parents first the right to seek medical treatment for their child, at no expense to the state, and now even the right meet his court-ordered death at home, has made headlines across the world."
If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017