(ANSA) – Vatican City, June 30 – Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, on Friday called for respect of the wishes of the parents of a terminally ill 11-month-old, Charlie Gard, who do not want their child to be taken off life support, as scheduled Friday.
The parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, wanted their son to undergo experimental treatment in the US and have strenuously opposed his doctors’ decision to remove him from life support.
“The story of the little British child Charlie Gard and his parents affects all of us for the amount of pain and hope it delivers”, Mons. Paglia was quoted as saying by Vatican Radio.
He added that he was close to the parents and those “who treated him and fought with him”.
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an appeal filed by the parents to enable Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage from which he will not recover, to undergo treatment in the US.
Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital are scheduled to take him off life support on Friday.
Before the European court, judges in the UK had ruled that it was lawful for the hospital to withdraw life-sustaining treatment because the child would suffer harm if his present suffering was prolonged without any realistic prospect of improvement and that the experimental therapy could not provide real benefits.
Politicians across the political spectrum in Italy condemned the decision.
Anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo, a vocal critic of the EU, slammed the European court’s ruling saying it was “incredible” as it meant that the “entire EU” has nothing to say “on such an atrociously fundamental issue”.
Anti-migrant and anti-euro Northern League leader Matteo Salvini said the decision amounted to a “homicide” and strongly criticized doctors for reportedly refusing the parents’ request to take their child home to die after their last appeal against their decision was denied.
Center-right Forza Italia Senator Lucio Malan called on Italian President Sergio Mattarella to “intervene with Queen Elizabeth” in order for the child not to be taken off life support, which he said was an “execution”.