The fight to allow critically ill British baby Charlie Gard access to a potentially life-saving treatment continues Sunday as supporters take part in a rally and prayer vigil on little Charlie’s behalf.
The tiny group of approximately 20 activists gathered outside the High Court in London.
The news comes amid reports of numerous threats received by staff at the hospital where baby Charlie is staying.
"Staff have received abuse both in the street and online," said Mary MacLeod, chairwoman of Great Ormond Street Hospital. "Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life's work is to care for sick children. Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats."
Meanwhile, new developments in the case have become a cause for optimism among pro-life leaders.
Catherine Glenn Foster, CEO of American's United for Life, has been closely involved with Charlie's parents and the judicial proceedings. Foster was interviewed at the CBN News bureau in Washington D.C. where she described the emotional trip.
The most anticipated part of this story currently lies with Mr. Justice Francis of the UK high court. Francis will decide early next week if Charlie may be transferred to the US for experimental treatment. Mr. Francis is being briefed by American doctor Michio Hirano who this week examined Charlie's condition. Mr. Francis has said he is open to allowing Charlie to travel to New York if Hirano's findings present a convincing case for Charlie's survival.
A court agreed to allow Connie to present evidence as Mr. Justice Francis prepares to decide if the 11-month old can leave the hospital in London and be transferred to the U.S. for treatment. Charlie suffers from a rare genetic disorder for which there is no cure, and doctors in London want to remove his ventilator to end the child's suffering.
Despite several setbacks in court, his parents are still fighting for Charlie. They have raised over $1.7 million to pay for his travel to the U.S. where an American doctor is willing to try an experimental treatment.
Foster was present when Mr. Hirano presented the positive statistics of this experimental treatment to the courtroom. Foster explained how Mr. Francis was presented with data that he was unaware of from previous medical briefings. This contrast in data has given Foster and other pro-life leaders an optimistic attitude towards Mr. Francis' decision next week. The reactions of those in attendance spoke of their hope about Charlie's fate.
"When the doctor from New York was testifying and sharing some of that data and some of the projected probability of this treatment, there were gasps in the court room. Everyone heard the possibility, we heard the chance that Charlie had if he were simply freed, simply allowed to take one little plane ride to New York and receive this groundbreaking treatment and what could happen - what his chance at childhood could be," Foster said.
Global support has given Charlie's parents, Connie and Chris, the extra dose of encouragement needed while walking through this dark valley.
"It's been incredible. We've seen 37 parliamentarians, more than half a million signatures on just the 'Citizens Go' Americans United for Life petitions alone, and incredible global support. We know that the people back Connie and Chris," she said.
Foster had the opportunity to sit at the bedside of Charlie Gard while hearing his mother share her optimism.
“It was an incredible, moving time for me personally just to be able to sit at Charlie's bedside with Connie and Chris, hold Charlie and squeeze his little legs, run my fingers through his hair and kiss the top of his head…I was able to sit at his bedside while his mom Connie showed me videos of some of the other children who have been helped by this treatment, this groundbreaking treatment of before and after videos of children who weren't able to move their arms, not able to move a muscle and afterwards they're feeding themselves, they're walking, they're behaving just like any other child. It was beautiful.”
Foster is in United Kingdom this weekend for Sunday's rally. You can show your support by signing the petition and using the hashtag #IAmCharlieGard.