Family

Alfie’s Law May Help Give Meaning to Innocent Baby’s Death

Tragic case in Britain 'exposes the hubris of a government grown large and ravenous from feasting on the rights of individuals'

Little Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old child who captured the hearts of the world with his vulnerability amid a health crisis, lost his battle with a grave illness this past weekend. But even before he passed from this Earth to heaven, a politician in the United Kingdom decided to change that country’s law to give parents more control over their children’s medical care.

British Member of European Parliament Steven Woolfe joined forces with the group Parliament Street to launch “Alfie’s Law.”

“Parents are being sidelined in the care of their children, in what are highly complicated moral decisions,” said a spokesman for Parliament Street, which defines itself as a U.K. policy think tank, according to LifeSiteNews. “We strongly believe it is time for a change in the law to re-empower parents to have a say in the treatment of their children. We know that MPs have the power to change this to help children and their parents in future, and call on them to address this.”

Alfie Evans was a patient at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. By court order, health professionals removed a ventilator from the child early last week.

But the child defied the odds by breathing on his own. Doctors said Alfie had an undiagnosed neurological condition that resulted in serious and irreparable brain damage.

The case brought to light the disturbing and all too prevalent issue of government overreach — in other words, the government playing God.

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“The cases of Charlie Gard, Ashya 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,” Steven Woolfe said in a statement on his Facebook page.

And though Alfie Evans died in the U.K., similar scenarios can play out anywhere a government has too much power, including here in the U.S.

“All people should see the ominous implications of the ‘progressive’ view that government bureaucrats know better and do better than individuals,” Laurie Higgins, a cultural affairs writer with the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), an independent, nonprofit ministry and family advocacy group, told LifeZette.

“Such a view presumes the ‘government’ is a collection of people who are in possession of and base their decisions on an objective set of ontological, ethical and moral truths, which is false,” she also said. “The tragic case of Baby Alfie exposes the hubris of a government grown large and ravenous from feasting on the rights of individuals.”

Higgins added, “Why would a government or court deny parents the right to take their child either to another country for treatment or hospice care or home to die? What possible justification could a government or court have for such a presumptuous decision other than that it fears the implications of allowing their decision to be refuted?”

As Steven Woolfe wrote in an op-ed for The Independent, a British publication, “Alfie’s Law would give the right for a second opinion from a parent-chosen health care professional who is independent of the NHS [National Health Service], and would force the courts to give this medical opinion equal weight. This is a key factor in many cases.”

“The vast weight of medical evidence delivered by one set of professionals can become a rolling stone, trampling over opinions from all other experts,” he added. “There is a danger, also, that once the hospital decides on a certain course of action, they get tunnel vision; they become closed to all other arguments or evidence.”

Related: Poor Little Alfie Evans — His Case Should Be a Wake-Up Call for America

A second opinion in the child’s case could, in essence, have rendered an alternate course of action, sparing his parents immeasurable grief and uncertainty.

Higgins shared a final word of caution: “There is no government interest in prohibiting parents from taking their own child to another country for treatment or home to die. Other than the desire not to have its will thwarted or its ethical presuppositions rebutted, what could motivate the British government or a court to cruelly deny parents such a right? Warning to citizens: The hubris of government behemoths is not limited to health care.”

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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