In England, an 11-month-old little boy named Charlie Gard with a rare genetic disease is fighting for his life, and fighting for his rights. But his fight is also one for the sanctity of human life for all, particularly the weakest and most vulnerable among us.
The fight to preserve the sanctity of human life has until recently been largely on behalf of the unborn. These unseen, but very human lives dependent on their mothers for nutrition, for breath, and for protection (not unlike their existence outside the womb) have been portrayed as subhuman by the left and therefore undeserving of the same protections that any human outside of the womb receives.
Unfortunately we have a new category of human beings who are being treated as sub-human. Existing outside of the womb no longer guarantees your protection. And Charlie Gard’s death sentence illustrates just that. Thanks to the U.K.’s single-payer healthcare system, Charlie has lost his right to live and his parents have lost their right to protect their child and decide what is best for him. This is not just about the right to life — it is about the freedom of parents to have full control of the well-being of their own children.
Unfortunately, Charlie’s condition had recently deteriorated and he began to suffer from extreme seizures. Charlie’s doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London told his parents there was nothing to do other than to make him as comfortable as possible before he dies. His parents saw it differently. A doctor in the United States reached out and suggested a treatment called nucleoside therapy. Charlie’s Great Ormond Street doctors decided that the experimental therapy wouldn’t cure Charlie and was therefore out of the question since it would only stretch out his suffering before an eventual death.
Legal battles ensued. And public support for Charlie launched in the from of petitions and crowd funding at overwhelming numbers. The case went all the way up the ranks of the British legal system and then, on final appeal, to the European Court of Human Rights, which refused to overrule the hospital. And as a result, Charlie’s life was out of his own hands, out of his parents’ hands, and fully in the hands of the British government and European Courts.
And herein lies the problem. You see, when a country like the U.K. moves to a single-payer health care system, health care becomes something that is not care at all, but a cost-effective “health care” system run by the government. Decisions about a patient are not made based on caring for that individual, but what is most cost-efficient for that system.
Suddenly it seems as though Tea Party Conservatives were not so crazy when they voiced concern over so-called “death panels” as a result of a single payer health care system. It’s not so nuts to assume that government run health care in our own country could result in other cases like Charlie Gard’s. We now live in a culture that undermines our very humanity, where cost efficiency trumps the sanctity of life.
This is the culture of death, and it has truly lost all subtlety.