The Lord called little Alfie Evans home at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, but the burning question remains – why was this little boy left to die against the will of his parents and so many others who were willing to help him stay alive?
According to Regent University law professor Lynne Marie Kohm, one of the primary reasons why the toddler’s parents were overruled is found in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This is a human rights treaty which defines a child as any human being under the age of 18 unless national legislation establishes an earlier age. The treaty establishes the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children and any nation that ratifies it is bound to by international law.
The UK ratified this treaty in 1991.
“That means that the child’s rights are protected by the state, not by his parents,” Kohm explained to CBN News.
“This would not happen in the United States because the court in the United States is charged with allowing the parents to direct the upbringing of their children. And those parents are bound by law to do what’s in the best interest of those children. Those rules don’t exist in the UK or any of the 192 nations who’ve signed the CRC,” Kohm said.
The US took an active role in drafting the CRC and signed it on February 16, 1995, but it has never been ratified. During his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised to ratify it but failed to do so.
The lack of will to ratify the treaty comes largely from religious and conservative groups who hold that parents should have authority over their children and that moral authority in the U.S. belongs to parents, religious congregations, and other private associations rather than the state.
Kohm points out another reason why Alfie’s life could not be saved – socialized medicine.
“In Britain, the hospital has been paying the cost of taking care of Alfie his whole life and that’s been a while,” she said. “This is state health care. Universal state health care…So, when the state is in charge, it’s going to decide who gets to continue to live when resources are limited.”
Even though the UK court system believed that by ending Alfie’s life they were insuring that he would die with dignity, Kohm disagrees.
“When you are starving a person they start losing their sight, their organs shut down. Some people would call that murder. Not death with dignity.”
Alfie’s case reveals the special responsibility God has given parents to protect their children, and what happens when a powerful government usurps that right, Kohm said.
“God has put in parents’ hearts to protect their kids. But when states step in to stop that, it makes it really impossible for the child to move forward,” she shared.
This is not the first time that an innocent life was ended prematurely by this deadly combination of the CRC and universal health care in the UK.
Last year saw the death of Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old boy who was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial depletion syndrome and was on life support in a London hospital. Even though his parents raised over $1.5 million for his treatment with the hopes of trying experimental treatment in the U.S., the UK government forbad the parents from doing so. Charlie died just one month shy of his first birthday in July of 2017.
In 2014, the parents of five-year-old Aysha King were forced to abduct their child from a British hospital to take him to another country to receive proton beam therapy in the Czech Republish. The parents were eventually hunted down and imprisoned. Ashya is now in remission.
Thankfully, lawmakers in the UK are no longer willing to stand by and allow parental rights to be trampled in their country. On April 26, 2018, just two days before Alfie Evans died, a British MP named Steven Woolfe announced plans to propose a new law, named “Alfie’s Law,” that will ensure that no family will ever have to go through this situation again.
“The cases of Charlie Gard, Aysha King, and now Alfie Evans, show a dangerous trend of public bodies depriving parents and families of the right to make decisions they believe are in the best interests of their children,” Woolfe said.
“Parent’s rights should neither be ignored nor dismissed as irrelevant by hospitals and courts, who believe they know best and have the power, money and resources to overwhelm families who simply want to save their child.
“We demand a change in the law to restore the rights of parents in such decisions. All parents should be allowed an independent advocate to defend their case with the right legal and medical expertise and financial equality of arms.
“Now is the time to act. We cannot have another baby, another family, have to go through the struggle and torment the Evans family have. It’s time for Alfie’s Law.”
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