Statistics are used every day to argue for causes.
We often hear them used like this: “About 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes…”
Or this:“Every day, 93 people die from gun violence: 32 are murdered…”
Or this: “It is estimated that a person dies of hunger or hunger-related causes every ten seconds.”
Or this: “According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day…”
Of course, each of these statistics are used and shared to provoke a response and a reaction from those who hear it, to convince them to DO something about it.
However, once you hear these arguments enough, they can lose their potency, because as sad as they make us, there is little that concerned individuals can do to stop the atrocities, and nothing at all we can do that will end it as immediately as we’d like.
Imagine this, then.
Right now, there is a baby boy in a hospital room, being kept alive only by machines. His parents sit at his side, watching nurses enter and exit as they do their best to keep the child comfortable, but knowing there’s nothing they can do that would restore him to health.
The parents are willing to do anything to give their boy a chance, including crossing oceans and raising and spending millions of dollars to give their boy the slightest chance at life.
But their government won’t let them.
The boy’s name, as you may have guessed, is Charlie Gard.
These parents are not dealing with statistics, wishing they could do something for dying children in general; they’re watching their own child die, and being denied their only chance at saving him.
If you are not familiar with the Gard family’s case, little Charlie has an obscure mitochondrial DNA disorder which has resulted in his muscles and organs failing. There is no known cure, but the child’s parents raised upwards of 1.5 million dollars to bring their son to the United States for an experimental procedure which offered a thin hope of improving his condition. The hospital, however, refused to release the Gard’s child to them, arguing that the child ought to be removed from life support and allowed to die.
Jonathan Montgomery, professor of health care law at University College London, explained where the British Courts derived this power. "Unlike the USA, English law is focused on the protection of children's rights. The USA is the only country in the world that is not party to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child; it does not recognize that children have rights independent of their parents."
In accordance with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the decision on whether to try the procedure to save the baby was not left to the parents, but to the British Supreme Court, which upheld the hospital’s death sentence.
As tragic as this individual case is to read about, the overreach of the courts which this case demonstrates will have a much broader effect.
Regardless of the final outcome of the Gard’s case, the abrogation of parental rights by the courts will only make this family one of the first and most publicized victims of this misplaced power.
We’ve recently seen this power grab by a government from parents manifested on a non-medical front in Ontario, Canada, which recently passed “Bill 89.” The bill, also known as “The Supporting Children, Youth, and Families Act of 2017,” would consider anything less than complete acceptance of a child’s “sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression” as abuse – and such abused children could be forcibly removed from their parents’ home.
This put Bible-believing Christians with a gender confused child in the position of either allowing their child to pursue a lifestyle which not only violates their deepest held beliefs, but will hurt them in the long run, and risking the state taking their child away.
As Jonathan Montgomery noted, the United States is unique in its recognition of parental rights to raise a child in accordance with their own beliefs. This is something we ought not take for granted, and, as Charlie Gard’s story illustrates, it’s a right we must defend!
Little Charlie’s story is not over. After resounding public outcry and offers of help from President Trump and the Pope, British Courts are reviewing their decision. As I write this, the American doctor who would perform the procedure is in Britain to assess whether his treatment might help Charlie or not. Of course, we all hope and pray the best for the little guy.
No matter what is decided, his story has revealed the ugly side of governments’ usurpation of parental authority.
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