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Pro-life group welcomes court ruling to let U.S. doctor examine baby


Supporters of the parents of Charlie Gard demonstrate outside England's high court in London July 13. Charlie's parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, petitioned the court to allow them to travel with their terminally ill child to the United States for medical treatment. The court denied their request but ruled that a U.S. doctor who specializes in the baby's condition can travel to England to examine the child. (CNS photo/Andy Rain, EPA)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The national director of Priests for Life in New York welcomed a London court's decision allowing a U.S. doctor to go to England to examine a 10-month-old terminally ill British infant at the center of a medical and ethical debate.

The baby, Charlie Gard, was born with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness, brain damage and respiratory or liver failure; it is typically fatal.

The baby's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, lost their legal battle to keep Charlie on life support and to then take him home to die. They also were denied permission to take the baby to the United States for evaluation and possible treatment. The couple had raised $1.8 million through crowdfunding to cover the cost.

Doctors at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital said transferring the baby to a U.S. hospital would prolong his suffering. On July 14, England's High Court ruled he could be examined by Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University.

"News that an American doctor with experience in treating Charlie's disease will travel to the U.K. to examine him is certainly welcome," Father Frank Pavone said. News reports July 17 said Hirano, a neuorologist, had arrived in London and a second U.S. physician, who has not been identified, also will be allowed to examine the infant.

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