If you want to catch a glimpse of the horrific, dystopian implications of socialized medicine, you need not skim through a science fiction novel. Simply look overseas to Europe, where yet another sick child has been sentenced to death by a U.K. death panel. First Charlie Gard and now this.
Little Alfie Evans was put into a coma by a mysterious brain condition that doctors still have not been able to diagnose. Doctors at Alder Hey hospital in London have decided that Alfie will never get better and his life is no longer worth living. His parents disagree. Much like the Charlie Gard case, Alfie's parents are not seeking to force the doctors at Alder Hey to perform medical procedures they do not want to perform. Rather, they want only to take their boy back into their own custody and transfer him to a Vatican hospital. But the London hospital refuses to give the child back to his parents, and the courts have sided with the hospital. They will not let Alfie leave. It is in his best interest to die, they say.
It may well be true that Alfie Evans will never recover. It may be true that he is now effectively brain dead, although the parents claim otherwise, and, at any rate, I don't see how the hospital can argue that he is both brain dead and suffering. But whatever the case, there is nothing to lose by transferring the child to a hospital that is willing to treat him. It is very common for patients to seek second opinions, especially when a medical condition is this complex and mysterious. Should the parents not get a second opinion before pulling their son from life support? Should they not exhaust every possibility before giving up? Should they not have the right to claim custody of their own child?
Not in the U.K. Over there, children are the property of the State, and the State has final say over life and death. The death penalty has long since been abolished across Europe, but the government can still impose a death penalty on the young and the sick. It is only convicted murderers who are free from such inhumanities. Sick babies — or perfectly healthy babies in the womb — are not so fortunate.
No matter how anyone tries to frame this case, the dispute is not over any medical controversy. The dispute is over two simple questions: 1) Is life sacred? 2) To whom does a child belong?
The answers from the proponents and agents of socialized medicine are "no" and "the State." That's how it is in Europe. And that's how it will be for us, soon enough.