Absent some extraordinary intervention, Charlie Gard, aged 10 months, will be killed tomorrow by the doctors charged with his care, who claim that because his condition has no known cure, any effort to prolong his life will cause him harm and thus, they have decided that he must “die with dignity” even though neither he nor his parents have any say in the matter. Indeed, Charlie’s parents have been fighting for him, and raised over £1 million to try an experimental treatment here in America. Given time, perhaps Charlie might have become a medical miracle, but instead, his time will be cut short. This chilling precedent should give us pause, because we have been here before.
In some ways, Charlie Gard’s case is eerily similar to that of Gerhard Kretschmar who was killed in 1939 at the age of 5 months–although not over the objections of his parents, but rather their instigation, as ardent Nazis–because he suffered from severe congenital birth defects. His “mercy killing” was the first of millions who would eventually be murdered by the Nazi regime in their diabolical program of mental, physical, and racial purity. The language authorizing “Aktion T4,” which was the precursor to the Holocaust is chillingly similar to the words of the European Court of Human Rights:
Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. Brandt are entrusted with the responsibility of extending the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, so that patients who, after a most critical diagnosis, on the basis of human judgment, are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death.
— Adolf Hitler
The European judges said it was “not for the court to substitute itself for the competent domestic authorities”. British court judgments in the case had been “meticulous.” Their opinion went on to say:
The domestic courts had concluded, on the basis of extensive, high-quality expert evidence, that it was most likely Charlie was being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress and that undergoing experimental treatment with no prospects of success would offer no benefit, and continue to cause him significant harm.
Mindful of Godwin’s Law, this comparison is not to suggest that Charlie Gard’s murder is wrong because the Nazis did it, but rather, we can observe that we fought the Nazis because murdering disabled children and ethnic minorities is objectively wrong. Further, we should take careful note that, just as with Hitler’s order, the European Court of Human Rights (an Orwellian name, if there ever was one) does not say whether it is right or wrong to murder a child, but only observes that the “experts” had been “meticulous” in their determination to do so. Like the plague doctor of medieval times, instead of offering a cure, the British physicians can only offer sophistry.
It is a tragedy that in Europe today, the British who fought so bravely and at such great cost to liberate the continent from the murderous Nazis are now creeping down the slippery slope towards the Belgians and the Dutch who are infamous for their enthusiasm for euthanasia. A doctor in the Netherlands was recently cleared of wrongdoing after killing a patient who struggled for her life as her own family restrained her. Killing patients against their will is also commonplace in Belgium. The crimes against humanity which Hitler accomplished by force are now a mundane bureaucratic function that can be carried out with the stroke of a pen. Under the guise of compassion and robed in legality, Europe is now descending into barbarism.