Opinion

What’s Happening To Parental Rights?

Mothers and fathers across the world are holding their children a little closer as they watch a British hospital and court usurping the rights of baby Charlie Gard’s parents.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates at first sought only to take their baby home to die once they were assured his extremely rare ailment could not be cured. The hospital, backed up by a court, denied them that right.

Now they have found an experimental treatment that might improve, or at least prolong, their son’s life – a treatment that is helping other children with the same disease — and they have privately raised the money to bring him to the United States or to take him to the Vatican’s Children’s Hospital to give it a try. The hospital originally balked at letting him go but is now said to be reconsidering.

What gives Great Ormond Street Hospital – or any hospital  or any court – the right to overrule parent’s wishes for their child?

A dangerous philosophy is rearing its ugly head and we should all be alarmed. Parental rights, and patients’ rights, are being overruled by a state that says it knows better what this little boy needs. The hospital and the court say he should die, that it’s in his best interest to do so, no matter what his parents say.

This situation is a shocking illustration of how the culture of death changes shapes to achieve its goals.

Think about it for a minute. The hospital says letting Charlie die is in his best interest, giving his mother and father no say in the matter. The hospital – wrongly – is putting Charlie’s best interest ahead of his own mother’s choice.

But when it comes to abortion, where clearly the best interests of the child would be served by not being killed in the womb, the mother’s choice reigns supreme.

A child’s death is the ultimate goal in both of these scenarios but one is ruled by the child’s best interest, as determined by the hospital, and the other is governed by the mother’s own self-interest, as enshrined in Roe v. Wade.

This is a deadly dichotomy.

And while the mother’s choice is paramount in abortion, that choice – and the high esteem in which it’s held in this country – also leads to the erosion of parental rights.

When a minor becomes pregnant in the U.S., 19 states permit her to have an abortion without parental consent or even notification. In 31 states that have parental notification or consent laws on the books, all of them can be bypassed if the girl gets a judge to sign a waiver.

Sometimes these young mothers are driven to abortion businesses by siblings or friends who think they are helping. Other times, outrageously, they are taken by high school personnel. This represents a further erosion of parental rights.

In 2010, a Seattle woman discovered that her 15-year-old daughter’s school arranged for an abortion. In California, schools are not allowed to tell parents if their underage daughters leave school to have an abortion.

At Planned Parenthood, pregnant minors are encouraged to call right away so they can find out about laws in their states.  Sometimes Planned Parenthood offers more “help,” like the time an office manager in New Jersey helpfully told a man posing as a pimp how to obtain an abortion for a 14-year-old he had trafficked into the country and was selling on the street.

Parental rights are being eroded in the LGBT area as well. In Canada, a new law says that parents who won’t accept their underage child’s chosen gender can lose custody of that child. Let that sink in a minute. A parent who won’t address their son by a girl’s name and buy him dresses – and hormone treatments – can lose custody of that child.

The loss of parental rights when it comes to health-care decisions, abortion and even child-rearing is cause for alarm. If we don’t recognize it for what it is and work to stop it in its tracks right now, it will only get worse for our children and our children’s children.

Let’s hope and pray that the British government and the hospital come to their senses and make sure Charlie Gard gets the experimental treatment that might help him. Thanks to his parents and their supporters, the bill has already been paid.

Priests for Life is the world’s largest Catholic organization focused on ending abortion.