Lawmakers call for US residency for terminally ill baby Charlie Gard
LONDON — Two U.S. congressmen have called for terminally sick British baby Charlie Gard to be given U.S. residency so he can undergo treatment in America.
Republican congressmen Brad Wenstrup and Trent Franks will introduce a bill to the House of Representatives this week calling for the 11-month old baby — who is on life-support in a London hospital — and his parents to be granted permanent residence in the United States.
It comes as the latest intervention from the United States in the case of baby Charlie, who has a rare genetic condition and can't move his arms or legs or breathe unaided. Charlie suffers from an inherited mitochondrial disease referred to generally as "MDDS." His condition is terminal.
"Our bill will support Charlie's parents' right to choose what is best for their son, by making Charlie a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. in order for him to receive treatments that could save his life," the congressmen said in a joint statement released Friday.
On the same day Charlie's parents were given new hope as the hospital caring for their baby asked England's High Court to rehear his case after two hospitals offered Charlie experimental therapy.
Last week New-York Presybterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center offered to admit Charlie and to provide him with experimental treatment, according to the Washington Post.
The hospital also offered to send the drug to Great Ormond Street Hospital — the British hospital where Charlie is being treated — if approved, the post added.
The Vatican's Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital has also offered to treat Charlie.
Back in the U.K., Charlie's parents were set to join a group of supporters outside Great Ormond Street Hospital Sunday to hand doctors a petition imploring them to save Charlie's life.
The petition has been signed by more than 370,000 people and was organized by Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion law firm and advocacy group based in Washington D.C.
"Please save Charlie Gard! Do not remove his life support," the petition read, "I, and the entire international community, will be outraged if you kill Charlie Gard."
Charlie's parents are also being supported by the controversial Reverend Patrick Mahoney, pastor at the Church on the Hill in Washington D.C. who has come to London to drum up support to keep Charlie alive.
A Twitter account promoting Charlie's right to life said the pastor was turned away by doctors when he asked to go into Charlie's room to pray by his bedside.
In a statement tweeted from the account, @Fight4Charlie, Charlie's mother Connie Yates said "we are heartbroken that after we invited Rev. Mahoney to come to England and pray for our son Charlie, Great Ormond Street Hospital has turned him away. Once again, the hospital doesn't care about Chris and my wishes."
On Monday U.S. President Donald Trump weighed into the debate tweeting his support for Charlie.People gather in support of continued medical treatment for critically-ill 11-month old Charlie Gard due to be taken off life support, in London on Thursday. BEN STANSALL / AFP - Getty Images
The president wrote: ""If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so."
The Vatican has also intervened, issuing a statement last week that the pontiff was following the case "with affection and emotion" and "expresses his own closeness to his [Charlie's] parents."
Pope Francis hopes "that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored," it said.