By Stephanie Curry, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance
The image above commands our attention as a powerful symbol of a government standing between Baby Alfie and life.
This photo shows the British police guarding Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the UK Hospital where Baby Alfie died over the weekend. The police were ostensibly there to ensure the hundreds of protestors supporting baby Alfie didn’t charge into the hospital after a court decided that the hospital could remove Baby Alfie’s ventilator, against his parents’ wishes. The hospital argued keeping Alfie on a ventilator was futile and his condition was beyond hope.
Interestingly enough, the Judge writing the decision to remove Alfie’s life support wrote that Alfie’s father’s “core dilemma” was that he was, “unable to relinquish hope.” Alfie’s father, Tom, passionately argued “no stone should be left unturned” in pursuing treatment for his child, and ultimately Alfie is “our child and a child of God.”
Tom didn’t know what the future held for his son, but he certainly knew the value of his son’s life must not be in the hands of the government.
Tom had the support of a hospital in Rome, ready to take over Alfie’s care and continue his life support—even standing by to provide a full air ambulance to Italy. And if that didn’t work out, Alfie’s parents were prepared to take him to Germany. If that didn’t work, they asked the judge if they could take him home.
Yet, the UK government, both literally and figuratively, stood between Alfie and his chance of life. They denied all of Tom’s requests to remove Alfie from Alder Hey—even his request to take his son home. The judge agreed with Alder Hey that a journey to Italy or even Germany would be too risky. In other words, Alder Hey argued on one side that death would be a merciful end to Alfie’s life, but yet refused to allow him to be transported to a different hospital because there was a risk of death.
Unlike the United States, the UK government has multiple years of bad law leading up to this moment, where the government has been handed the power to use force to ensure a child’s death. British parents no longer decide the best interests of their child –the government does. And when the government decides the value of a child’s life, children lose. Children like Alfie Evans, Charlie Gard, and Isaiah Haastrup.
Here in America, we still have an opportunity to ask –are these children in the care of the government, or their parents? The American legal system still considers the parent-child relationship one of the most protected and fundamental rights in the United States. Period. In the United States, our children are not the government’s kids.
But, we’re starting to see bills that resemble laws in the UK, allowing courts to overrule parents’ wishes—bills with attractive titles like “Children’s Bill of Rights.” These types of laws would remove parental considerations in determining the best interests of a child, just like in the UK.
Parents and lawmakers in America must learn from what’s happening to these precious children in the UK. Laws that proponents claimed would protect children are now being used to strip parents of their rights and devalue the relationship between a parent and child.
Family Policy Alliance is working to pass laws like Simon’s Law, that ensure parental rights are protected in the most critical moments of their child’s life. We hope you will partner with us in protecting parental rights in America.
During the summer, our team of attorneys works to draft good bills that will help protect parental rights. Please consider donating to support these efforts.
Or, please consider supporting the Statesmen Academy, a program through our Foundation that trains lawmakers to uphold the principles of protecting life and parental rights in the laws they pass. Right now, every gift to the Statesmen Academy is being doubled up to $80,000, thanks to a generous Christian family.