A pro-life leader in Northern Ireland is facing criticism after she compared Charlie Gard’s situation to the Nazis’ extermination of people with disabilities.
Bernadette Smyth is the founder and director of Precious Life, a prominent pro-life group in Northern Ireland. Through social media and other educational efforts, she and her organization have been raising awareness about Charlie Gard, who died on Friday after a judge ordered that his life support be removed.
Charlie suffered from a rare mitochondrial disease and brain damage. He was at the center of a massive international debate after the London hospital where he was receiving treatment refused to allow an experimental treatment and also refused to transfer him to another hospital that would allow the treatment.
After the news of Charlie’s death broke late last week, Smyth wrote on social media, “May the death of baby Charlie Gard be a warning to all people in the UK that the Nazi program Aktion T4 is alive and well.”
People quickly blasted Smyth’s comments as “profoundly offensive” and “extremely cruel” and demanded that she apologize, The Irish News reports.
She did not retract her comment. Instead, Smyth wrote this response to the criticism several days later: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible #leastweforget #weareallcharlie.”
Here’s more from the Belfast Telegraph:
Aktion T4 was a programme of mass murder in Nazi Germany. It is estimated 275,000 disabled people were murdered by the Nazis.
The campaigner was due to speak on Stephen Nolan’s BBC Radio Ulster programme yesterday morning, but declined to appear after being informed she would be questioned on her comments about the Charlie Gard case.
Like Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, abortion and euthanasia are gross human rights violations that devalue and destroy human lives. Though the actions were different and each were horrific in their own way, the underlying thought behind them is the same – some human lives are not valuable.
One of the reasons why Charlie Gard and his parents were denied the opportunity to get him treatment was because some doctors thought he did not have a good “quality of life.” But “quality of life” is an arbitrary concept that often is used to promote euthanasia and assisted suicide. In some countries where euthanasia is legal, people commit euthanasia due to blindness, depression or even a spouse’s death. In the U.S., abortion activists defend abortion by arguing that the baby would not have a good life either, maybe because of poverty or a disability.
In Charlie Gard’s case, the chance of the experimental treatment working was slim, and his parents knew that. But they wanted to give their son a chance anyway because they believed – like millions of others – that he was a valuable human being who deserved a chance.
“He’s our own flesh and blood and we don’t even have a say in his life whatsoever,” his mother told Good Morning Britain in July. “We are not bad parents, we are there for him all the time, we are completely devoted to him and he’s not in pain and suffering, and I promise everyone I would not sit there and watch my son in pain and suffering, I couldn’t do it.”
But the British courts and his London hospital denied him that chance. The 11-month-old British infant died Friday after his life support was removed, following a lengthy court battle between his parents and hospital. Charlie’s 1st birthday would have been Aug. 4.