In the UK, AUL President & CEO calls on British Officials and Hospital Leadership to Allow Parents to Make Treatment Choices for Charlie Gard
“I am Charlie. We all are Charlie. He could be my child, or your child, or any one of us,” said AUL’s Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “The life and death struggle facing Charlie’s parents could happen to anyone, which is why we are fighting for their right to determine their son’s welfare.”
WASHINGTON D.C./LONDON (07-07-17) Americans United for Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster called on British officials and hospital leadership at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to turn over the treatment decisions for 11-month-old Charlie Gard to his parents, who have been fighting against efforts to remove the child’s life support and to move him to a hospital willing to explore treatment options. Charlie suffers from a rare genetic disorder, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which can cause weakened muscles and organ dysfunction, among other symptoms. Foster is in London as part of a team invited by and advocating for the family, who has been shut out from the decision making over Charlie’s care.
“Back in the United States, I got to know Charlie’s mother, Connie, over the phone and via email. When she asked me to come to London to advocate for her family, as they face a life and death struggle, I knew that Charlie stood a better chance with our help. White House officials called me to ask for a meeting to brief us on their efforts, and I flew out from Washington, D.C. that night,” Foster said. “There are hospitals and doctors, the Pope, the U.S. President, 37 European parliamentarians, and celebrities offering to do all they can to help the family. But standing in their way is a group of medical authorities unwilling to give Charlie a chance. As a mother, I have come to stand with Charlie’s mother, to appeal to those in leadership to allow the family a choice for life.”
She continued: “There is a lot of medical evidence that has not yet been released to the public. But we know that when that starts to come out, the tide will begin to turn. And public pressure is building. It’s not often that so many different voices agree, and we hope that the British officials will soon join us, working together to give Charlie a chance.”
Foster and other U.S. pro-life leaders, including Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, and Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, are engaged in high-level meetings in London as they work towards Charlie’s transfer.
On Thursday, Foster also joined leading pro-life organizations at a news conference in the National Press Club, all calling for the British government to relent and allow Charlie’s parents control of their son’s care.
Foster joined Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List; Penny Young Nance, CEO & President, Concerned Women for America; Jeanne Mancini, President, March for Life; and Tina Whittington, Executive Vice President, Students for Life of America.
The pro-life leaders offered a joint statement: “The idea that a government may override and block parents’ decisions about the care for a child is horrifying. In past situations of similar circumstances, the patient or their family has always had the option of finding alternative care and that’s exactly what Charlie’s parents have done. This is their child and they want to use money they have raised from private donors around the world to provide him access to a treatment option that has had some success with a related condition. It is chilling that the UK court is allowing the London hospital to deny the family this option, or even the option to bring Charlie to spend his last hours at home. Our two nations have a proud and enduring history of protecting individual rights and respecting home and family. We strongly support the offer of our government to assist Charlie and his parents in this exercise of their natural rights.”
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