On Friday, two Republican congressmen, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona and Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, introduced legislation which would grant American citizenship to critically ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard as a last-ditch effort to save the child.
Baby Charlie is diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disease for which there is no treatment in the U.K., where the family resides. The boy's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have raised over $1.6 million for experimental treatment offered in the United States, but the courts in the U.K. have denied Gard and Yates the right to remove Charlie from Great Ormond Street Hospital and have instead sentenced the boy to death via removal of his life support.
By granting baby Charlie citizenship, the parents will now have the freedom to bring their child to the U.S. for potentially life-saving or life-prolonging treatment.
“Our bill will support Charlie’s parents’ right to choose what is best for their son, by making Charlie a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. in order for him to receive treatments that could save his life,” explain the congressmen.
“Despite Charlie’s heartbreaking condition, his parents have refused to give up hope,” they write. “They have advocated for him fiercely. They have raised over £1 million to pay for their son to receive experimental treatment in the United States. They have kept fighting for his life.”
“Should this little boy to be ordered to die — because a third party, overriding the wishes of his parents, believes it can conclusively determine that immediate death is what is best for him?” ask the lawmakers.
“Every human life has dignity, including the lives of those who cannot speak up for themselves,” they argue. “When government is able to overrule a parent or guardian in determining a patient’s best interest, every vulnerable patient is put at risk. We offer Connie Yates and Chris Gard our heartfelt support as they seek to care for their son.”
This very idea to grant baby Charlie citizenship was proposed by Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro on July 3.
"Congress has the power under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to 'establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.' This gives Congress plenary power over naturalization," wrote Shapiro.
"So, why can’t Congress pass a private bill sponsoring Charlie Gard and his parents as American citizens? That would then give us legal standing to challenge Charlie's inability to travel to the United States at the behest of his parents," he explained.
The heartbreaking case has gained attention from Pope Francis, who contends that the parents' wishes should be granted; the Vatican's children's hospital even offered to take in baby Charlie.
President Donald Trump also weighed in, tweeting his support for the parents and offering America's help.
The parents headed back to High Court on Monday following "new information" from the Vatican's children's hospital. "The judge gave them 48 hours to present new evidence of how the experimental treatment will benefit their son," notes Life News.
A day prior, the couple protested outside Charlie's hospital, presenting a petition with over 350,000 signatures asking for Great Ormond Street Hospital to allow the parents to bring their sick child to the U.S. for treatment before they kill him via life-support withdrawal.
“He’s our son, he’s our flesh and blood and we feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life,” said Yates. “For a medication that is just an oral medicine, no known major side effects, you know, there is nothing to lose. He deserves a chance.”
Gard and Yates disagree with Charlie's doctors and argue that the baby has no "catastrophic brain damage."
Gard said the treatment has a chance of "up to 10% of working" with "no known major side effects."
“He should have had this chance a long time ago. They said it wasn’t fair to leave him on a ventilator for three months with a treatment that they didn’t think was going to work; he’s now been left for seven months with no treatment, so he could have had it twice over. He deserves this chance at last and hopefully we will get it," said Gard.