Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and the left would have you believe that involving government in every nook and cranny of Americans’ lives will bring nothing but benefits for the public. But the case of Alta Fixsler, a girl British courts would effectively condemn to death, provides another example of the very real costs of the ever-encroaching power of the state on the rights of parents and the right to life.
The two-year-old Fixsler suffered a catastrophic brain injury at birth. Her parents, Hasidic Jews, consider withdrawing life-saving medical treatment against their religious beliefs. They wish to evacuate their child overseas, either to Israel or the United States, for treatment. American authorities have granted Fixsler, whose father holds U.S. citizenship, a non-immigrant visa to receive care.
But British authorities have forbidden Fixsler’s parents from transferring her overseas for treatment. By instead requiring that her medical care be withdrawn, they have all but issued her death sentence. A May ruling in the matter did not mince words: “Alta has no quality of life. The burdens of Alta’s life outweigh any benefits that [British authorities have] been able to ascertain.”
The ruling joins a growing line of cases in which U.K. authorities have demanded that parents watch their children die when care gets withdrawn. To the names of Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans, and other infants who succumbed because courts would not allow their parents to continue providing medical care, British courts would now add the name of Alta Fixsler.
In response to the justifiable outrage the Fixsler case has generated, the British intelligentsia continues to make the case that, however unfortunate the circumstances, the state and not parents should make these life-and-death choices. An Oxford University ethicist claimed parents “don’t have an absolute right to make decisions for their children. The legal and ethical system in [the U.K.] says that the child’s interests must take precedence.”
Of course parents do not have an absolute right to make decisions that would result in their children’s harm, or to abuse or neglect their offspring. But by all accounts, the Fixslers deeply love and care for their young daughter, and want to provide for her — including via medical treatment — as best they can.
As the mother of two young daughters, including one with a disability, I find the British willingness to substitute the judgment of the state for the wishes of two loving, qualified parents deeply troubling. The callous language used in its rulings, as when the judge wrote Fixsler’s parents would face the “siren call” of continuing medical treatment should she be transported to Israel, shows the way in which the U.K. court system devalues the lives of the most vulnerable in society.
It’s not just the courts; socialized medicine is also to blame. Although not directly involved in the legal dispute regarding the Fixsler case, Britain’s model of universal health care, the National Health Service, denies access to life-saving therapeutics and treatments and empowers government, giving bureaucrats the authority to make critical care decisions for individuals, silencing the patient and their loved ones.
Sadly, our health-care and legal systems in the United States are not far behind. With the left’s constant push for socialized medicine, the growth of the murderous abortion industry, and legalized euthanasia, we may find ourselves in similar situations as the Fixsler case where vulnerable life is no longer valued.
As a society, we need to protect and cherish the most defenseless in our midst, and I hope and pray that Britain will come to the same conclusion for young Alta Fixsler.