It has been heartbreaking to watch the story of U.K. infant Charlie Gard unfold.
The precious little boy, born last August, suffers from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. His prognosis? Death. Charlie’s grieving parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have tirelessly fought for his right to receive treatment, albeit experimental, beyond what the Great Ormond Street Hospital can provide.
As my colleague Andrea Ruth wrote on Monday, Charlie’s parents decided to end their legal battle in the British courts, and will spend the remaining, fleeting moments of Charlie’s life by his side.
This post is not about his parents and their loving efforts to do anything they could to give him just a chance at life. Their strength during such a public, torturous trial is an example to us all.
This post is not about the individuals who value life in all stages and forms, and have defended Charlie Gard’s chance at continued existence every step of the way.
What this post is about is the blatant hypocrisy woven into the very fabric of this story, coming from those who support the right to life only on this side of the womb. This is solely about those who value pro-abort choice over chance.
Charlie’s bleak medical prognosis did not come until he was three months old. He was born healthy. Had he been given such a diagnosis while still in the womb, too many rightly mourning his state-mandated death sentence would have cheered on his destruction. That is the legacy of “choice.” It supersedes a child’s inherent right to live. Not just that, the “choice” of abortion is so celebrated (to the tune of almost 60 million in the U.S. alone since 1973), that adverse diagnoses, such as Down Syndrome, frequently result in the unborn child’s early demise by way of legal homicide. According to a 2015 study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, such choice “after prenatal diagnosis has reduced the population of individuals living with DS in the U.S. by approximately 30%.” This response to such a supposed malfunction, that is not life-threatening, is a perversion of epic proportions.
Now imagine what a response would have been to Charlie’s condition, had it been known while he was still in the womb.
Should the British courts be harshly criticized for their role in barring Charlie’s parents from seeking further treatment? Without a doubt. However, if our disgust at the rulings is more about parental rights instead of right to life, we’re going about morality incorrectly.
I commend Connie Yates and Chris Gard for their devotion to the fight. They experienced more than once judicial explanation as to why their requests were denied. They kept on fighting.
In the frequent wasteland that is social media, I’ve come across several individuals who have expressed frustration at the “religious and pro-lifers” who have taken Charlie’s case and turned it into a talking point. Personally, I believe if there is any moment to loudly and unashamedly promote the worth of every individual – whole or not – it is in these moments.
Increasingly, we are a pro-death society. Don’t believe me? Consider that Planned Parenthood took 328,348 unborn lives in the last calendar year. Consider that assisted suicide is becoming more palatable.
It is the incessant drip of determining which lives are worth of saving, no matter the struggles or brevity they may face, and which ones are not.
The activism surrounding this story says much. Planned Parenthood is not vocal about it, because the story is essentially about chance, not choice. They reject true hope and wholeness. Pro-lifers, eager to decry abortion, should be even louder. After all, being pro-life doesn’t just stop at birth, though that is a common misconception.
Chris Gard, in a Monday statement.
Despite the way our beautiful son has been spoken about sometimes, as if he is not worthy of a chance at life, our son is an absolute warrior, and we could not be prouder of him, and we will miss him terribly. His body heart and soul may soon be gone, but his spirit will live on for eternity, and he will make a difference in people’s lives for years to come, we will make sure of that.
Charlie Gard’s life is of immense importance. It is not important because of name recognition. It is not important because of the spotlight cast on the issue of parental rights. It is not important because it is brief. He is important because he exists. That existence was established long before we knew his name.
Charlie was once unknown and unborn. If his life wouldn’t have been important to you then, then you can’t truly say it is important to you now.