Baby Charlie Gard died yesterday. If you are not familiar with his story, little Charlie was born in Great Britain less than a year ago with a muscular disease called mitochondrial depletion syndrome. Charlie’s illness is very rare and often, but not always, fatal. That caveat is an important one, because despite Charlie’s parents having an expert on the disease willing to treat their infant son and more than enough funding to pay for it without government assistance, the British government and European court of human rights decided it was illegal to try to save an innocent child’s life.
Think on that for a moment. If Charlie’s loving parents tried to bring him to the United States for possible life-saving treatment, they would have been charged with kidnapping and spent their son’s final days in jail, while their boy died on the orders of their government. After appealing the British government’s decision all the way up to the European court of human rights, Charlie’s parents were just about out of options.
In a statement released by Charlie’s parents the day they decided to end their appeal to allow treatment, they said independent experts reviewed Charlie’s medical records and concluded he could have been saved if he was treated earlier. In other words, Charlie could still be alive today, next year, ten years from now, if months had not been wasted begging the British government to do nothing but get out of the way and let Charlie receive his medicine.
This is monstrous.
For the last eight years, conservatives have been mocked for warning of “death panels” resulting from socialized medicine. While certainly sensational, “death panels” were used to describe rationing, which is a real concern in countries like Britain where the government has taken over the healthcare industry. Charlie Gard’s case is a step further, as his parents raised enough money to pay for his treatment without any government assistance.
Instead of rationing, Charlie’s death points to a much deeper and much more profound concern: that big government in general, and socialized medicine in particular, gives government the impression they have a right to make important life decisions for us. British and European government officials sentenced Charlie to die not even out of a perceived benefit to the state, which would be bad enough, but because they decided they knew better than Charlie’s parents and the doctor who wanted to save him. They knew better, and they used the power of the government to enforce their decision that baby Charlie should die.
We can only guess what would have happened if Charlie’s parents had been allowed to bring him to America for treatment. Maybe it would have been ineffective and he still would have died yesterday. Maybe it would have only prolonged his life a few more weeks so he could at least see his first birthday. Maybe the proposed treatment would have worked and saved Charlie’s life.
We will never know because instead of allowing Charlie’s parents to treat their child, the British government treats its subjects like children. An infant, an innocent child, died before his first birthday, having been prohibited potentially life-saving treatment by his own government for no other reason than they took it upon themselves to decide his fate.
This should serve as a warning to us in America. A government big enough to give you everything you want is also powerful enough to take away everything you have – even your child’s life.