Jones noted that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says that a child has, “as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.”
“The right of Pippa to be cared for by her mother, as far as possible, includes the right of Pippa to have her mother make decisions in relation to her care,” he said.
“It is a right that is violated when decisions are taken out of the hands of her mother without very serious reason.”
He argued that while the state can intervene in “extreme cases,” it must not “usurp the role of the parent unless it can show the parent is being clearly unreasonable such that the child is in danger.”
He said: “This principle is accepted in English law when it comes to issues of child protection and taking children into care. However, in relation to medical decision-making the law has been seriously distorted by a previous judgment in which Justice Holman stated [in a 2006 case] that the wishes of parents ‘are wholly irrelevant to consideration of the objective best interests of the child.’”
“This sweeping statement now has to be qualified, thanks to the  judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Charlie Gard. However, English judges still struggle to recognize that respecting the decision of the parent is respecting the right of the child to be cared for by their parent, as far as possible.”
Jones observed that medical experts offered different opinions on the best way forward for the five-year-old from the county of Kent, south east England.
“There was agreement that Pippa’s condition had been static for well over a year and that there is no prospect of any improvement. There was agreement that care for Pippa at home would not be straightforward,” he wrote.
“At best it would be risky and it might not be medically possible. Nevertheless, more than one doctor was of the opinion that it was at least worth trying, given that the alternative was immediate withdrawal of ventilation.”
He continued: “Given that medical experts took different views, it was clearly reasonable for Pippa’s mother to seek to follow the opinion that accorded with her view of the child’s best interests. It is unjust in such a case for the judge to take this decision away from her.”
The Anscombe Bioethics Centre recently raised concerns about a separate court ruling that allowed the withdrawal of food and water from a practicing Catholic patient. The patient, identified only as “RS,” died in January despite last-minute efforts by bishops and government officials to bring him to his native Poland for treatment.
(Story continues below)
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Concluding his analysis, Jones said: “The decision of the High Court is currently under appeal. It remains to be seen whether this deeply flawed decision will be overturned.”
“Whatever the legal outcome, the staff of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre wish to express our solidarity with Pippa, her mother and all her family as they go through this deeply painful time and assure them of our prayers for Pippa and for those around her.”