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Ethics Professor On Charlie Gard: ‘Children Do Not Belong To Their Parents’

The story of 11-month-old U.K. baby Charlie Gard is equally heartbreaking, maddening, and terrifying. The boy’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, were barred from pursuing experimental but potentially life-saving treatment in the United States on their own dime by European bureaucrats who said it was in Charlie’s best interest to die, in their hospital, on their terms.

The story triggered a strong reaction here in the United States and abroad; President Donald Trump, Pope Francis, and hundreds of thousands of petition-signing Americans and Brits were all appalled by the horrors of a court mandating parents (who had not forfeited their rights because of neglect or abuse) pull the plug on their infant son and stop fighting for his life.

Authoritarianism, the repercussions of socialized medicine, and the culture of death are all fully on display in the tragic case of little Charlie.

But Ian Kennedy, a professor of health, law, and ethics at University College London, writing at The Guardian has a different take, one consistent with the pure leftist ideology: infant Charlie Gard “does not belong to his parents,” he belongs to Big Brother, and he should be sentenced to death.

“The first is the most fundamental: as a society, we must choose how to decide such heartbreaking cases,” writes Kennedy in a piece titled “Despite Charlie Gard’s tragic story, we must respect the process of our courts.”

“These are the steps. The first is to recognise that children do not belong to their parents,” he writes.

In other words, caring, fighting parents, like Chris and Connie, do not have the final say over their child’s life; the government knows better.

Let that sink in.

Kennedy then doubles-down on his big government take: “Second, when a claim is made that parents have rights over their children, it is important to step back and examine the language used. We need to remind ourselves that parents do not have rights regarding their children, they only have duties, the principal duty being to act in their children’s best interests. This has been part of the fabric of our law and our society for a long time. Third, if we are concerned with the language of rights, it is, of course, children who have rights; any rights that parents have exist only to protect their children’s rights.”

Again, are Connie and Chris not fighting to protect their child’s most basic right, his right to life? When is it the government’s role to force parents to euthanize their child; in this case, a child who had a one-in-ten shot at potential life-saving treatment?

“Now, in giving effect to a child’s rights, the parents’ views as to their children’s interests should usually be respected,” writes the professor. “But parents cannot always be the ultimate arbiters of their children’s interests.” It’s the courts which should have the say in such matters, not the parents, he argues:

[T]there has to be a mechanism to decide the circumstances in which parents’ views should not prevail. That mechanism has to be a trustworthy and independent source of authority, sometimes a local authority, but ultimately, as ever in a civic society, a court.

Kennedy goes even a step further, arguing that it’s important that no one dare “attack the institution of the courts,” which might spit out a decision to murder your son:

Campaigns against the courts, whether led by tabloid newspapers, organised through social media or exploited by sectional and religious groups, are increasingly a feature of modern discourse. It is one thing to comment on or criticise a particular decision. It is a very different thing to attack the institution of the courts.

The professor concludes that parents like Chris and Connie, motivated by “passion,” as he disparagingly notes, should not be given the authority to try to save their own child’s life. The courts know better:

Here, in Charlie Gard’s case, the call has been to keep the courts out; they don’t understand. Only the parents should decide: let passion prevail. Those behind such calls should reflect on what they wish for in case they get it. A whole system designed to address dispassionately the rights and interests of children would be pushed aside.

Kennedy perfectly highlights the rampant culture of death so prevalent on the Left. Baby Charlie would suffer, doctors say, he would not live a “normal” life, according to the courts, and therefore he should die. This is the same line of thinking which prevails in the pro-abort community, where doctors advise pregnant mothers to abort their child because of a Down Syndrome detection.

All life should be protected, particularly the voiceless and vulnerable, and there is no way in hell some government bureaucrat should be forcing parents to pull the plug on their child who, at the time, had potentially live-saving options to pursue.

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