State Sen. Mark Green, M.D. Commentary: When Government Becomes Too Powerful

After five days off life support, 23-month old Alfie Evans died over the weekend. Having a neurodegenerative disorder, doctors didn’t expect him to live long–but Alfie fought and hung in there for nearly a week.

Alfie’s parents wanted to take him to a hospital in Rome for further treatment, but the boy’s doctors disagreed, and the British courts sided with the doctors. The Italian hospital not only offered to take Alfie, Italy even granted him citizenship and had a plane ready so he could immediately be flown over.

But the British government said no, and stationed police at the hospital to prevent Alfie’s parents from taking him to Rome–or even taking him home.

As parents, my wife Camie and I are outraged, and join millions across the world in mourning Alfie and hurting with his parents. Our son had cancer as a child and I couldn’t even fathom how we would’ve felt if any doctor or court ever told us we couldn’t choose where to treat him.

As a physician, I understand that some conditions in this fallen world are indeed incurable. But I also know–because I’ve seen it firsthand–that sometimes the impossible can happen and the incurable can be cured. Nevertheless, whether or not to continue treatment is not a decision that the government has the right to make.

The British government has forgotten who gives us our rights.

In our Declaration of Independence, our Founders boldly proclaimed that in this new American experiment, each person is “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Our Founders were right: Our most fundamental rights come not from government, but from a higher power. Alfie’s death shows us why that is so important. Any rights conferred to us by the State–the State can take away. On the other hand, any rights bestowed on us by God–no man can take away.

Britain didn’t get here overnight. And America, thankfully, is nowhere near this point. But, as we’ve seen throughout history, human rights are chipped away a little at a time. Every time the government grows, the people lose a little bit of their freedom.

As we mourn Alfie’s death, let us each resolve to more vigilantly stand guard for freedom–against an ever-growing and encroaching government–in our country today.

A West Point graduate and combat veteran, Dr. Mark Green (R-Clarksville)  is a State Senator representing Montgomery, Houston, and Stewart Counties.

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