Following the death at Alder Hey Hospital of little Alfie Evans, who had a rare neurological condition, Christina Odone recalled her brother Lorenzo, who at six years old developed a rare neurological condition that “robbed him of hearing, sight, gait and swallow”. Her parents’ ultimately successful quest to find a remedy was immortalised in the film Lorenzo’s Oil, but had her parents lived not in America but in the United Kingdom, she doubts that they would have been allowed to make the same choices.
In the UK, the Children Act of 1989 is clear that the state should intervene to safeguard the child’s best interest. In other words, medics, lawyers, and judges can step in to protect a child from … his parents.
Despite the best efforts of Alfie’s parents and his supporters worldwide, hospital officials, backed by judges, flatly refused to allow the little boy to be transferred to a hospital willing and able to offer an alternative to the treatment that they proposed – death by withdrawal of life support and, apparently, nutrition — although when Alfie continued to breathe on his own after his apparatus was disconnected, water and some oxygen were given.
Nigel Farage described the Hospital’s action as “state-sponsored euthanasia”. Such comments have been seen as melodramatic and even dangerous for undermining public confidence in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). But the NHS has undermined confidence in itself by doggedly refusing to allow second opinions in such cases.
Most reasonable people would ask why it continues to refuse to allow such children to be transferred elsewhere for treatment which, if it failed, would increase confidence in their approach, while parents would be consoled that at least all avenues had been tried. Sadly, they have concluded that the answer to this question is that the NHS wishes to avoid the “risk” of an alternative approach proving successful, as with little Aysha King.
It is unsurprising that public confidence is at a low ebb when the law, which regularly turns a blind eye to people going to commit suicide in Switzerland, stationed uniformed police officers outside little Alfie’s hospital room, apparently to protect him from being saved.
The same approach has been adopted in establishing “safe” areas around abortion clinics so that unborn babies can be killed – safe from being saved by offers of help from concerned individuals, when the State only offers death.
Abortion has been described as pre-birth euthanasia, and it was always the aim of the inter-linked abortion and euthanasia campaigns to introduce infanticide for babies whose disabilities are not detected in the womb; indeed, prominent abortion activist Madeleine Simms, instrumental in the legalisation of abortion, tried to interest Parliamentarians in a campaign to introduce infanticide on the same basis as the Abortion Act* – a sort of post-birth parents' right.
Unfortunately for this approach, however, while couples who are not given full information on the care of the disabled can be scared into agreeing to abortions, when disabled children are born or later become disabled, their parents tend to fight tooth and nail to protect them.
In the face of “problems” like the parents of Alfie Evans, Charlie Gard and Aysha King, what better way to introduce infanticide by the back door than by applying a child protection law – the 1989 Children Act – to protect a child’s best interests, which are now seen as death rather than disability.
When the NHS began on July 5, 1948 it was hailed as a benign institution that would care for people “from the cradle to the grave”. Seventy years later, it has prevented nearly nine million children from being born, but if they do make it to the cradle it will now hasten their journey to the grave.
In Victorian times the poor were fearful of entering hospitals in case they never came out alive; it seems that this country is going back to those days.
Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).