We’re still awaiting the judge’s decision on whether the parents of Charlie Gard, the British baby with the life-threatening genetic disease, will be allowed to take Charlie to the US for experimental treatment or whether he will be removed from life support to die. The parents stormed out of the hearing after the judge said the baby’s mother had previously said she wouldn’t want to prolong his life if there weren’t a chance of improvement. She angrily replied, “I never said that!” and they both left the court. But this morning, the judge did agree to allow a US doctor to examine Charlie and give an opinion.
While this has been painted as a debate about the power of government health care agencies, there’s another aspect of it that hasn’t gotten enough attention. The reason this is such a legal dilemma for the hospital and judge is that allowing the parents to make this decision for their own child would run counter to a UN agreement on children’s rights that every nation but the US signed on to (and we took a lot of criticism for that wise decision). On Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News, Charles Krauthammer noted that he is a doctor and he believes nothing can help Charlie, but he correctly declared that that should be the decision of the parents, not doctors nor judges nor government health bureaucrats nor the UN.
As he pointed out, UN bureaucrats define every government handout as a “right,” but when it comes to genuine rights, such as the right of patients to make decisions about their own health care, or if they are too young, for their parents to make those decisions, then the officials want all that power to themselves. It’s about money and government control. Here in the US, we know what rights really are: they are guarantees of freedom from government control. That’s why we should never sign on to international agreements that make the Bill of Rights subservient to any “international law.”
If you don’t believe that giving up control over your life to the government leads to a slippery slope that devalues life and the rights of the individual, then look at how widespread the idea has become in Europe that the aged and ill have a “duty to die” to keep from burdening the state budget. And look at the shocking spectacle of this baby’s British parents having to plead with a court to let them take action just to try to save his life. This is British society today.
Only a little over a century ago, the conscience of British society, novelist Charles Dickens, wrote in “A Christmas Carol” a chilling scene in which Ebeneezer Scrooge refused to donate to help the indigent who would rather die than go to hellish workhouses. He replied, “If they would rather die, they had better do it and decrease the surplus population.”
Back then, it was proof that Scrooge had forgotten his humanity and lost his soul. Today, it would be proof that he was qualified for a top job as a British or UN health care bureaucrat.