WASHINGTON — Two Republican congressmen — Arizona Rep. Trent Franks and Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup — proposed legislation Friday granting lawful permanent status in the U.S. to the terminally sick British infant Charlie Gard and his family.
“Despite Charlie’s heartbreaking condition, his parents have refused to give up hope. They have advocated for him fiercely. They have raised over £1 million to pay for their son to receive experimental treatment in the United States. They have kept fighting for his life,” Wenstrup and Franks said in a joint statement.
They added, “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.”
Charlie, an 11-month old baby, has a rare genetic condition known as infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial. There is no known cure and the baby is on life support at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
When Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, pleaded with the hospital to not shut off their son’s life support and allow them to provide him with potential life-saving treatment offered in the U.S., the hospital asked the courts for a hearing to decide whether they could shut off Charlie’s life support.
Although the European Court of Human Rights initially ruled in favor of the hospital after Charlie’s parents appealed the hospital’s decision, following statements of support for Charlie from President Donald Trump and Pope Francis and international backlash against the hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital reversed its position and said it would reconsider turning off Charlie’s life-support.
According to The Washington Post, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center has said it would bring Charlie Gard and prescribe to him with an experimental treatment, pending emergency FDA approval. Additionally, the New York also offered to provide Great Ormond Street Hospital with the treatment medicine if approved.