The U.S. should grant terminally ill Charlie Gard and his parents legal residency so the British baby can undergo trial treatment stateside, a pair of Republican lawmakers argued.
Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said Friday they would introduce a bill to bring the family to America — days after a European court ruled little Charlie should be taken off life support, and multiple international hospitals offered to take him in.
“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,” the two U.S. lawmakers said in a statement.
“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?”
The 11-month-old was born with a rare inherited mitochondrial disease that left him unable to move his limbs or breathe without a respirator.
His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have garnered global support in their financial and legal fight to seek experimental treatment in the U.S. after three British courts and the European Court of Human Rights ruled that further treatment would only prolong the baby’s suffering.
“Every human life has dignity, including the lives of those who cannot speak up for themselves,” Wenstrup and Franks wrote. “When government is able to overrule a parent or guardian in determining a patient’s best interest, every vulnerable patient is put at risk.”
The GOP duo will introduce the legislation this week after Congress resumes session.
London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, currently caring for the little boy, said Friday it had applied for a new hearing by England’s High Court “in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition.”
“And we believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence,” the hospital said in a statement.
A GoFundMe campaign for Charlie has raised more than £1.3 million, or roughly $ 1.7 million.
“We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life,” Yates told supporters outside the London hospital Sunday, according to the Guardian. “There is nothing to lose, he deserves a chance.”
“Let’s get Charlie the treatment he deserves,” the mother added. “If he is still fighting, we are still fighting.”
A supportive Pope Francis last weekend backtracked on the Vatican’s initial stance that the parents should accept the limits of medicine, and Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Hospital began exploring the possibility of admitting Charlie to its Rome facility.
President Trump also chimed in, tweeting the U.S. would be “delighted” to help the sick child.
“Although the President himself has not spoken to the family, he does not want to pressure them in any way, members of the administration have spoken to the family in calls facilitated by the British government,” a White House spokeswoman told the Daily News on Monday.
New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, meanwhile, told CBS News on Friday it would evaluate Charlie “provided that arrangements are made to safely transfer him to our facility, legal hurdles are cleared, and we receive emergency approval from the FDA for an experimental treatment as appropriate.”
The hospital alternatively offered to arrange for the experimental drug to be shipped to Great Ormond Street and advise its staff on administering the drug.
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