Rep. Steve King (R-IA) introduced a resolution Thursday calling upon UK courts to allow the parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard, who is suffering from a rare genetic disorder, to come to the US for treatment. London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital planned to remove Charlie’s life support against the parents’ wishes, arguing that the experimental treatment would only prolong the baby’s suffering.
Charlie’s parents desperately argued that their baby has a chance at improvement with the experimental treatment during a tense court hearing Thursday which was requested by the hospital in light of new medical evidence that the treatment could improve Charlie’s condition.
“It will be a horrific affront to every parent’s innate right to care for their children if British courts refuse to allow Charlie Gard’s parents to pursue offered treatment for their son,” King said in a statement.
“Congress should pass my resolution and take a firm stand for the rights of parents and for the life of little Charlie,” he emphasized. “British courts should not be allowed to subject an innocent, eleven month old child to the equivalent of a death sentence when hope for a cure exists, and when his parents wish to pursue it at their own expense. The world is watching this story unfold, and the British legal system is being judged harshly.”
King’s resolution says that “the courts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island and the European Court of Human Rights should allow Charles William Gard and Constance Rhoda Keely Yates to pursue innovative medical care for their son, Charles Matthew William Gard (‘‘Charlie’’ ), in any country where such care may be available, in order to give Charlie the chance to be cured in accordance with his parents’ wishes.”
Charlie Gard’s case drew an international public outcry against the hospital’s decision that included Pope Francis, President Trump, and Cher. President Trump and Pope Francis have both extended offers of support to the family.
Two of King’s GOP colleagues, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) also introduced legislation to try to help bring baby Charlie to the U.S. for treatment.
A petition to keep little Charlie alive for the experimental treatment has now reached over 500,000 signatures.
Ahead of Thursday’s hearing, Chris Gard and Connie Yates released a statement to the press about their fight to keep little Charlie alive.
“We are continuing to spend every moment, working around the clock to save our dear baby Charlie,” they said. “We’ve been requesting this specialized treatment since November, and never asked the hospital, Courts or anyone for anything – except for the permission to go. We’ve raised over £1.2 Million and have had invitations from specialized Doctors in the U.S. and Italy offer their ground-breaking treatment to us and are confident they can help little Charlie. We will continue to make the case for us to seek treatment for Charlie with Doctors that are actually specialized in Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome and we hope the Judge and the Courts will finally rule in favor of us seeking treatment elsewhere.”
“We love him more than life itself. If he’s still fighting, then we’re still fighting.”