Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) introduced legislation Tuesday to grant Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old baby whose life hangs in the balance, lawful permanent resident status in the United States. The bill would also grant his parents, Christopher Gard and Connie Yates, the same status.
Little Charlie suffers from a rare genetic disorder, which causes brain damage and progressive muscle weakness. He was ordered off life support by a hospital in London and by European courts. His parents wish to bring him to the United States for experimental treatment, or to a Vatican hospital in Rome.
The Great Ormond Street Hospital in London stated that Charlie is in terminal condition, and would not recover from the illness. The hospital originally pushed to turn of Charlie’s life support, but applied for a hearing in light of “new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition.” A new hearing is set for Thursday.
In a press release, Rep. Franks and Rep. Wenstrup urged lawmakers to give Charlie a fighting chance:
The fight for Charlie Gard’s life has caught the attention of the world. His heartbreaking condition and situation are unique, but the human rights at stake span borders and cross country lines.
A medical center in the U.S. has offered to provide Charlie with experimental treatment. Our proposed legislation grants lawful permanent status in the U.S. to Charlie Gard and his family, so they are at least enabled to pursue their best hope for Charlie. Not only does experimental treatment provide the only chance to save little Charlie’s life, it also offers the opportunity for Charlie to positively impact the chance of recovery for others suffering from this condition in the future. We believe that Charlie and his parents should have this option, should they choose to pursue it.
Ultimately, this case is about one little boy’s life and his parents’ fight to do everything in their power to save it. But it also serves as a powerful reminder that every human life has dignity, including the lives of the voiceless and most vulnerable. God forgive us all if we forget that.
Charlie’s parents have fought the hospital and the courts to seek treatment for their son. They have also raised more than $1.6 million in donations.
In an op-ed for Fox News, Rep. Franks urged for the protection of the most vulnerable:
The moment a human life can begin to be measured on a sliding scale – when lawmakers and doctors decide what “life is unworthy of life” – this is the moment our humanity itself begins to unravel…I am Charlie Gard. You are Charlie Gard. Theresa May is Charlie Gard. Every person on the European Court of Human Rights – each one who has sentenced him to death — is Charlie Gard.