A British toddler on the brink of death has become a rallying point for U.S. conservatives.
Alfie Evans, who is 23 months old, suffers from a neurodegenerative disease that has ravaged his brain. Since December 2016, he’s been hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit in Liverpool.
This week, over the objections of Alfie’s parents, doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital removed life support. For now, the boy has continued to breathe on his own, but his parents and their many supporters worry the decision will end his life.
The case has attracted the attention of the Roman Catholic Church and the Italian government, which granted the boy citizenship and put together a flight plan in place to transport him quickly to a Vatican hospital for palliative care.
But Alfie’s doctors believe there’s no hope of recovery. A British judge, asked to rule on the case, agreed, refusing a last ditch plan to relocate him.
Pope Francis, who met last week with the boy’s father, tweeted Monday: “Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.”
Here in the U.S., American conservatives have joined a growing movement that calls itself Alfie’s Army, and the group’s Facebook page has attracted more than 380,000 followers.
Conservative journals in the U.S. have linked Alfie’s case to the debate here over abortion.
The American Spectator denounced the U.K. government’s stance as “brutal and ruthless.”
The National Review warned that this is what happens “when our culture of death embraces the idea that human life, most especially the lives of suffering children, has no intrinsic value.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has used the case to argue against the perils of “socialized medicine.”
“It is a sad irony,” Cruz tweeted, “that while the people of the UK are busy celebrating a royal birth, its government is brushing off a commoner’s right to life.”
Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh goes so far as to connect Alfie’s right to life with the gun control debate here in the U.S.
“Why does an American need an AR-15? To make sure what’s happening to #AlfieEvans never happens here. That’s why,” he tweeted.
Passions about this case run so strong that the hospital staff in Liverpool has endured a “barrage” of abuse, according to hospital administrators. Alder Hey is now urging nurses to hide their uniforms when coming and going to work for their own protection.