Recently, I attended the Right to Life of Southwest Indiana’s annual banquet. The banquet is one of the largest pro-life events in the country, with more than 2,000 people coming together to celebrate life and stand strong in protecting those without a voice. I believe in defending the unborn and consistently support pro-life proposals as a member of the General Assembly. Like many others across the world, I was heartbroken by the story of young Alfie Evans, which recently went viral.
Alfie Evans was a British toddler battling a rare and life-threatening condition, which required him to be on a ventilator. Alfie’s parents had to fight for his treatment and became involved in an increasingly complex legal dispute with his doctors over what should be done to keep him alive.
Recently, a court sided with doctors and ruled that since young Alfie could not sustain his life on his own, his ventilator should be removed, even against his parents’ wishes. Britain’s High Court of Justice and the doctors at his hospital determined it was best to completely stop treatment for Alfie since there were no signs of improvement. The hospital did not want to provide him with any continued care, and the British government prevented his family from seeking treatment abroad, even after Italy granted the child citizenship.
In this sad situation, government control of the healthcare system pitted the odds against Alfie and did not allow his family to explore other options to try saving his life. Alfie recently passed away because of the inaction of the hospital, and all control was taken away from his parents.
A baby shouldn’t be sentenced to death because a government determines what is in his or her best interest. In 2016, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation to help offer more options to terminally ill patients like Alfie. Under the law, patients under certain conditions, with physician approval, can try experimental drugs, biological products or devices if they do not have comparable or satisfactory treatment options. Patients can qualify for experimental treatments if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness and the treatment option does not have a probable risk greater than the condition.
This is not the first or last time Britain will face this type of circumstance, which is a result of their system of socialized medicine. People deserve the opportunity to try potentially life-saving options when they are available, just as Alfie’s family deserved the opportunity to help him continue fighting. In the United States, citizens have the ability to make their own decisions regarding their health care, and that is something we should be thankful for and protect.
I send my thoughts and prayers to Alfie’s family and any family forced into this devastating situation.