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Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 02:49 PM

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OUR VIEW: Britain's Embrace Of Death In the Case Of Alfie Evans is Warning To America

A baby boy named Alfie Evans died  Friday at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, in the pediatric intensive care unit that had been his home for the last 18 months.

The life he lived for close to 24 months was mercilessly short, yet full of meaning. He didn’t know it, but he was at the center of a heart-wrenching, and in my opinion, scary debate about who should have final authority over children’s medical care: Parents, or the state? My question is simply, should there BE any debate?

For those who don't know who Alfie Evans is, here is some background.

The little Evans was born on May 9, 2016, the healthy child of two young parents, Tom Evans and Kate James. But as early as July 2016, Alfie’s health began to deteriorate. He was brought into the pediatric unit at Alder Hey in December 2016, where, over the course of a year, he suffered seizures, bi-lateral pneumonia, and cardiac complications that put him in a coma by January 2018.

Alfie’s doctors decided that continuing to keep the boy on ventilatory support was not in his best interest, concluding that he had an untreatable, progressive neuro-degenerative disease of unknown origin. Typically, in the UK, doctors in a similar position use private mediation to agree upon a course of action with family members.

But Alfie’s parents did not accept the doctors’ conclusion, arguing that the hospital had rushed to judgment. In later court hearings, they said they felt the hospital had “given up” on Alfie. And so the hospital turned to the family division of the UK’s High Court for a ruling.

Justice Anthony Hayden ruled in favor of the hospital in February 2018, saying that while it was “entirely right that every reasonable option should be explored for Alfie,” continuing to keep him on life support “compromises Alfie’s future dignity and fails to respect his autonomy.”

The family then filed an appeal request before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which was denied in March 2018. After having exhausted all legal options in the UK, the Evans took their case to the European Court of Human Rights, where their appeal was ruled inadmissible.

On Monday (April 23), the doctors at Alder Hey’s took Alfie off life support, against his parents’ wishes and in keeping with the court ruling. Most expected that he would not be able to keep breathing on his own. Defying expectations, he did. He survived several hours without assistance, after which doctors began giving him oxygen and hydration to help him breathe.

Doctor Judith Gross, who examined Alfie, had anticipated this possibility, telling Judge Hayden, “even if Alfie is able to sustain respiration in the short term, on discontinuing ventilation, his respiratory effort will not sustain life.” But the fact that Alfie defied medical expectations further galvanized those who see in him a religious miracle and a symbol of the perseverance of life.

Then at 2:30 AM April 28, Alfie Evans died.

The case of Alfie Evans has resonated with Catholic and Christian communities around the world. It should do more than resonate; it should scare the hell out of all of us!

This was a fundamental conflict between the actions of the British legal system and both the right to life and the right of parents to determine a child’s medical care.

Before Alfie died, the Italian government offered young Alfie citizenship, arranging for him to travel to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Italy. Even Pope Francis, who met with Tom Evans in Rome earlier this month, has weighed in on the case.

Pope Francis

Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.

Pope Francis also tweeted out his sadness in response to the news of Evans’ death:

Pope Francis

I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.

The issue of the Alfie's right to life did not change the British legal system’s mind.

Alfie Evans is not the first baby whose medical condition sparked similar debates. Last year, Charlie Gard, a terminally ill British baby, died in July 2017 a day after the British High Court ruled that his life support could be withdrawn. Charlie’s case had attracted the attention of world leaders from Pope Francis to US president Donald Trump.

Extreme medical cases like Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard illustrate the moral dilemma of end-of-life care for sick children. It’s easy to understand why the parents of sick children would cling to hope; as long as their children are alive, they believe, there’s still a chance they might recover.

But the British legal system took the view that, in some cases, like Evans and Gard, keeping children artificially alive only prolongs their suffering.

Listen up Britain and listen up America. God did not give any court system the right to judge when a person lives or dies. He ALONE has that right to determine when death occurs in anyone, no matter their age.

This was not a legal matter, it was a moral one.

History warns us what happens to nations when life is tossed aside as some second thought, not as a first thought.

We have no further to look than Nazi Germany where the Nazis advocated the killing of children of “unwanted” or “dangerous” groups either as part of the “racial struggle” or as a measure of preventative security. Many Germans and their collaborators killed children for these ideological reasons and in retaliation for real or alleged partisan attacks. When all was said and done the final tally was 1.5 million children dead.

One would say, 'well the British situation was not anywhere close to what Nazi Germany did, it was simply a matter of the courts doing what they felt was best for the child." To use a South Georgia term, hogwash.

The British courts had no blanking right to be interfering in the FIRST place into the choices of parents and their kids. The same ruling class in Britain mirror the Democratic party here in America which embrace this same culture of death.

While the pundits argue this was over health care, I argue it was about LIFE. God is the only one who has the right to end a life simply because He created LIFE! He was the author of Alfie Evans life and HE alone should have been able to determine when he died, not sinful wicked judges on a British court who took matters into their own hands in a callous way.

If you don't think this was ideological then look no further to the local police department where Evan's parents lived who threatened fines and even jail to anyone that posted on social media that the courts "killed the infant Alfie Evans." George Orwell is turning over in his grave right now screaming, "I told you this was coming!" That's no longer a free democracy when things like this take place; it's a police state.

I warn America today that if we're not careful this same type of judicial tyranny and the striping of parents' rights is coming here. It's already starting with judges feeling they are now the legislative branch of America. If Democrats ever get full power again over this nation, the culture of death will surely be part of our culture.

Any nation who embraces the slaughter and killing of innocent children will always find itself on the opposite side of the fence with the Creator. God is a God of life!

While I'm 10000% certain Alfie Evans was taken into the hands of the same loving God on Saturday AM, I'm also certain God's heart was grieved for the callous display of death He witnessed in Britain this week.

America, we better wake up. This stuff is coming to our shores on the backs of liberal politicians and those who embrace this culture of death.

There's a saying in Britain, "God save the queen." The Brits need to be praying "God have mercy on our wicked souls and forgive us for the killing of this baby." It's more than the queen that needs saving today across the pond. God help us.


Christopher McDonald, Publisher, Editor in Charge

Great Smoky Mountain Journal