Dozens of members of Congress are seeking a quick vote to grant U.S. residence to Charlie Gard, the British boy whose life is at stake in a UK court system that is favoring ending treatment without transfer.
A House committee has already voted to Grant Charlie Gard permanent residence to be able to come to United States for an experimental treatment. Now pro-life members of Congress are seeking a quick vote on the full house floor to move the residency forward.
In a July 20 letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), 49 members of Congress said, “We write regarding legislation that will secure residency for Charlie Gard and his parents. As you know, this is a time-sensitive issue related to a child’s fight for his life and the right of his parents to seek care for his condition.”
“We urge you to bring legislation to the floor for a vote before the House of Representatives adjourns for the month of August,” they wrote.
“Legislation has been introduced that would grant lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. to Charlie Gard and his parents in order that he may come to the U.S. to receive medical treatment and contrinue to fight for his life,” the letter says.
“Not only does experimental treatment provide the only chance to save Charlie’s life, it also offers the opportunity for Charlie to positively impact the chance of recovery for others suffering from this condition in the future,” the letter adds. “Time is of the essence in this little boy’s life. Once again, we respectfull urge you to bring legislation to the floor before the House adjourns.”
Today, Charlie Gard’s parents have had enough and they stormed out of a courtroom today after a lawyer for the hospital that is refusing to allow them to transfer to another country said that a new scan of Charlie’s brain is “sad reading.” The hospital made the scan available to the court before Charlie’s parents had a chance to view it.
Gard’s father yelled “evil” after a lawyer representing Great Ormond Street Hospital broke the news that a report on a new scan on Charlie made for “sad reading.” And Charlie’s mother burst into tears as attorney Katie Gollop told the judge that hospital officials had a negative view of the new scan.
Justice Francis was analyzing preliminary issues at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Friday prior to scheduled trial on Monday.
Gollop told the judge that doctors had produced a report on the newest scan and said: “It makes for sad reading.” Then Charlie’s mom began to cry and said: “We haven’t even read it.”
Chris Gard yelled “evil” and added: “I’m not f****** listening to this biased s— anymore.”
The couple then stormed out of court and then the hospital attorney apologized.
In a new hearing on Monday, Charlie’s parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates want the judge to rule the 11-month-old should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial overseen by Dr Hirano in New York. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London say the therapy is experimental and will not help.
Judge Nicholas Francis insisted there must be “new and powerful” evidence if his earlier rulings were to be reversed. While there is evidence of treatment helping other children with Charlie’s condition, it’s unclear if it will meet Judge Francis’ definition of “new and powerful.” His earlier rulings barred Charlie from traveling abroad for treatment and authorized London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital to take him off life support.
Multiple hospitals and medical experts say that an experimental treatment could provide Charlie with hope and attorneys today argued in court that his parents ought to be given the right to allow him to have it. But attorneys for the hospital argued that the information about the experimental treatment was already available during previous consideration of the case and that there was no reason to go back on the decision to revoke Charlie’s life support over his parents objection.
Charlie’s mother Connie Yates told Sky News that seven specialists around the world support experimental treatment for her son and that it has “an up to a 10 percent chance of working.”
“I hope they can see there is more of a chance than previously thought and hope they trust us as parents and trust the other doctors,” she said.
Reverend Patrick Mahoney, a pro-life American pastor helping the couple, said he is delighted that a British High Court denied Great Ormond Street’s Hospital’s request to deny a hearing allowing new evidence in the Charlie Gard case.
He added: “If this new evidence is accepted, Charlie will be able to receive experimental treatment in the United States or other countries. Our prayers are with Charlie and his parents and we would hope the court would respect The wishes and rights of his parents to move forward with medical care that will improve the health of their son.”
Americans United for Life President & CEO Catherine Glenn Foster is also in England helping Charlie’s family.
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She told LifeNews: “Great Ormond Street Hospital asked for Mr. Justice Francis to affirm his prior, April ruling, and the Justice denied them. The book is not closed on Charlie Gard, and little Charlie still has a chance. International attention has been focused on this brave couple, Connie and Chris, fighting for the life of their son, and I will remain in London calling for the rights of parents to make decisions for their children’s care, and for hospital officials to open their doors and let Charlie’s parents seek groundbreaking new treatment for their son.”
“I am Charlie. We all are Charlie. He could be my child, or your child, or any one of us,” said Foster. “The life and death struggle facing Charlie’s parents could happen to anyone, which is why we are fighting for their right to determine their son’s welfare.”
Foster continued: “As a mother, I could not stand by as Charlie’s parents so bravely fought to seek life-saving care for their son,” said Foster. “Here we have an institution created to serve the most vulnerable in our society and hired to care for little Charlie, and yet is battling his parents to strip them all of their rights. No matter how diverse and pluralistic we are as a culture, there is one thing that unites us all: the family. We all want a better future for our children, and that’s why families worldwide are responding so strongly to Connie and Chris’s fight to give Charlie a chance.”
Charlie suffers from a rare genetic disorder, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which can cause weakened muscles and organ dysfunction, among other symptoms, and though his parents have raised money for additional treatment and hospitals around the world have volunteered their services, hospital officials have refused to allow the infant to be released to his parents.
Charlie’s parents have brought Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler to London to help them fight for care for their son. Schindler has arrived in Britain to help them just as they are preparing to meet with executives from the hospital that is denying Charlie treatment that has won a legal battle to remove his life support over their objections.
Schindler spoke with LifeNews exclusively about their invitation.
Schindler told LifeNews: “We are here by invitation from the family to come alongside them as they struggle to save their son, Charlie. The critical issue here is not a political one, but the simple notion that families know what is best for their loved ones.”
“Charlie’s situation is very reminiscent of my family’s battle to save my sister, Terri. Hopefully being here can help his parents, Connie and Charlie, deal with the day-to-day emotional roller coaster, as they fight for their son’s right to live,” Schindler added.
Schindler told LifeNews he is calling for officials in Great Britain to honor the wishes of Charlie’s parents and allow him to travel and receive the medical help he needs. He said he will be working with and alongside the family to facilitate their desire to obtain medical care for Charlie and oversee a campaign to ensure the family is not removed from the critical decisions being made concerning Charlie’s future and well-being.
Meanwhile, a New York City hospital has offered to help Charlie. In a statement, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center said it had agreed to admit Gard.
“New-York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center have agreed to admit and evaluate Charlie, provided that arrangements are made to safely transfer him to our facility, legal hurdles are cleared, and we receive emergency approval from the FDA for an experimental treatment as appropriate,” the hospital said in a statement.
New York Presbyterian also said, as another option, it would ship the experimental drug to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is currently receiving care, if the FDA approves. The hospital said it would advise medical staff at Great Ormond on administering the treatment to the baby “if they are willing to do so.”
“Alternatively, if approved by the FDA, we will arrange shipment of the experimental drug to Great Ormond Street Hospital and advise their medical staff on administering it if they are willing to do so,” the statement read.
A Vatican hospital said it was ready and willing to care for British infant Charlie Gard but British officials refused to allow the little boy to leave the country. The Italian news outlet Zenit reported that leaders of the Bambino Jesus pediatric hospital in Rome, Italy said they are willing to care for Charlie if the courts will allow him to be transferred to their hospital. But Britain’s Foreign Minister Boris Johnson refused.
Charlie entered Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in October and was diagnosed as suffering from a form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. Subsequently his parents discovered that 18 people in the United States had been treated with an oral medication of naturally occurring compounds to remedy this rare condition. Reports have not identified the doctor who initially agreed to treat Charlie, but it was noted that his parents were aware that no cure was promised.
The main argument offered by the hospital to countermand parental authority was to protect Charlie’s “best interests.” However, attorneys for Charlie’s parents argued that the hospital was basically holding Charlie hostage, violating several articles under the European Convention on Human Rights, including the rights to life, liberty and family privacy.