Hundreds of people rallied over the weekend to support British infant Charlie Gard whose life could be ended at any moment.
Charlie’s case gained international attention as his parents fought a series of court battles for their son, but ultimately lost.
Against Charlie’s parents’ wishes, the European Court of Human Rights ruled last week that a hospital can remove Charlie’s life support and allow him to die. His parents wanted to take their 10-month-old son, who suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease, to the United States for an experimental treatment; and they raised more than $1 million for his care.
Charlie’s parents also asked if they could take him home to die there, but the court also ruled against this request. The hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital, is expected to remove his life support within the next week.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people gathered to protest the court’s decision. The AP reports many chanted “Save Charlie Gard” and others held a large banner proclaiming the court’s decision “murder.”
The Sun reports a large crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace Sunday in London to urge leaders to save Charlie’s life.
London teenager Alex Nagel said he helped to organize the protest because he understands how important it is to support families like Charlie’s.
“We wanted to support Charlie and show him love,” Nagel said. “I’m only 17 – but when I grow up one day, when I have children, I would want anyone to support me the way I’m supporting them.”
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Another group protested in Lincoln, England. Organizer Charlene Barnes called for “justice for Charlie” and said he should be allowed to go home, if nothing else, the Lincolnite reports.
“I want him to be allowed home to spend the last few hours with his mummy and daddy who have been stripped of their rights,” Barnes told the news outlet. “It’s so unfair, but they have so many people supporting them.”
Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have been advocating for their son for months. Charlie has a rare disease, but his parents did extensive research and discovered an experimental treatment in the U.S. that could help him.
In March, however, Charlie’s doctors recommended that they remove his life support and said there was nothing more they could do to help Charlie. The little boy suffered brain damage from his disease and cannot breathe on his own.
But Charlie’s parents took the matter to court, and eventually the case was appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. On Wednesday, the high court ruled against them and will not permit them to seek alternative treatments for their son, according to The Guardian.
The judges said they did not think Charlie would benefit from the experimental treatment, and it could cause him greater pain and suffering.
“The domestic courts had concluded, on the basis of extensive, high-quality expert evidence, that it was most likely Charlie was being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress and that undergoing experimental treatment with no prospects of success would offer no benefit, and continue to cause him significant harm,” they stated in the ruling.
As Townhall editor Christine Rousselle wrote in reaction to the ruling: “It’s absurd that a court can claim to know what’s in Charlie’s best interest. His parents are neither negligent nor incompetent, and they should not be prohibited from trying a last-ditch effort to try to improve their son’s life. Further, the fact that they’re not allowed to choose when and where to withdraw life support on their terms is maddening. This is a sickening violation of basic humanity.”