Culture

Guardian Op-Ed on Charlie Gard: ‘Children Do Not Belong to Their Parents’

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, the parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard / Getty

A British law professor argued in the Guardian on Monday that parents ultimately have no rights when it comes to raising their children.

University College London professor emeritus Ian Kennedy wrote an op-ed on the case of Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old child suffering from a rare and fatal genetic condition. He is currently on life support. Gard's parent sought to take the child to the United States for an experimental treatment, but were blocked by a U.K. judge.

After a protracted legal battle, the Gards eventually relented when the window for the treatment had passed.

"All we wanted to do was take Charlie from one world-renowned hospital to another world-renowned hospital in the attempt to save his life and to be treated by the world leader in mitochondrial disease," the family said in a statement.

Kennedy wrote that the court's decision was just, arguing that the judicial system must have the final say and only be concerned "for the child and the child's interests."

"These are the steps. The first is to recognize that children do not belong to their parents," he wrote.

"Second, when a claim is made that parents have rights over their children, it is important to step back and examine the language used," he continued. "We need to remind ourselves that parents do not have rights regarding their children, they only have duties, the principal duty being to act in their children's best interests."

"If we are concerned with the language of rights, it is, of course, children who have rights; any rights that parents have exist only to protect their children's rights," Kennedy concluded.

Gard's parents are now seeking court permission to bring him home from the hospital to die peacefully.