When government usurps
the rights of parents
Michael Hoffman’s comment: In any society where the Bible, its statutes, judgments and morality, are not esteemed and held in authority, the government will usurp the rights of the parents and before long, the power of life and death itself. Many white liberals, who pride themselves on rescuing cats and dogs from animal shelters, are persuaded that the “population explosion” is, after “climate change,” the chief threat facing the planet. When these people obtain judicial or medical power, the value of human life in their eyes is highly problematic, and more often than not, disposable.
For the Love of Charlie Gard
When it comes to the life of a child, should parental devotion be disqualifying?
By William McGurn
Wall Street Journal | July 18, 2017 p. A13
So Charlie Gard’s fate now comes down to this: whether an American doctor can persuade a British judge that little Charlie’s life is worth living.
The child cannot see, cannot hear, and suffers from a genetic disorder for which there is no cure—yet he has exposed the great fault line between the post-Christian West and its past. For most of history, men and women have regarded suffering as part of life. But as medicine tames once-deadly afflictions and the idea of some larger meaning to the cosmos wanes, suffering comes to appear less a part of the natural order than an intolerable anomaly.
Follow this logic to the end and you will arrive at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. The hospital dates to 1852, when it was founded by a doctor hoping to relieve “the shockingly high level of infant mortality.” How curious that this same hospital now argues for infant mortality, or at least for the mortality of one particular infant.
Hospital experts say it’s in Charlie’s “best interests” that he be denied the experimental treatments because he “has no quality of life.” Better for him to die, they say, than risk suffering. Never mind the judge’s original admission that “no one can be certain whether or not Charlie feels pain.”
Let us stipulate a distinction between removing someone from life support, as the hospital proposes, and taking active measures to induce death. Put another way, if Connie Yates and Chris Gard —Charlie’s parents—decided to remove their son from his ventilator and allow nature to take its course, it would be a difficult but eminently defensible position.
But the claim asserted by the representatives of Britain’s state-run health care system is more sweeping and insidious: This is our call, they say. Such is the Great Ormond Street Hospital’s sense of dominion, says Ms. Yates, that it refused to allow Charlie to come home to die, wrapped in the loving arms of his mom and dad.
In the Book of Exodus the Israelites are warned that theirs is a “jealous God,” but there is no god more jealous than single-payer health care. For at the heart of single payer is single authority. Isn’t it striking how resentful the legal and health care authorities are that Charlie’s family has raised $1.7 million, thus taking money off the table as an excuse to deny him the offered treatments?
Against the emotional outbursts of the parents, the official pronouncements all aim to convey a sense of reasonableness, with soothing references to the law, the selflessness and expertise of those pushing to overrule Charlie’s parents, and, of course, the complexity of the situation.
Still, the deck has been stacked from the beginning. The giveaway is the appointment of a guardian to represent Charlie’s interests, even as the court rulings concede it would be difficult to find a more devoted mother and father. Now we learn the lawyer who represents Charlie in court runs a charity with connections—surprise!—to a sister organization that promotes assisted suicide and until 2006 called itself the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.
The Great Ormond Street Hospital even wants the last word on love: “In one respect, Charlie is immensely fortunate” to have such loving parents. Because in this context “in one respect” really means, “not in the sense that has to do with decisions about their son’s life.” In other words, the parents’ love disqualifies them. In choosing a guardian to represent Charlie against his parents, the courts sided with the doctor who characterized Charlie’s mom and dad as a “spanner in the works.”
It wasn’t long ago that people worried about the cheapening of human life were predicting practices such as legal abortion would lead to the acceptance of things once thought unthinkable. Euthanasia, for example, or the weeding out of children deemed not perfect enough. These people were dismissed as Cassandras. They now look like prophets.
Charlie Gard’s story comes after a case in the Netherlands where an elderly women suffering from dementia woke up and resisted as she was about to be euthanized—only to have the doctor order her family to hold her down for the fatal injection...
The essence of civilization is that the strong protect the weak. But Charlie Gard shows that the barbarian no longer comes wielding a club and grunting in some undecipherable tongue. These days the barbarian comes as an expert, possessed of all the requisite certification—and an unquestioned faith in his absolute right to impose final judgments about the “quality of life” of other people’s loved ones.