Three days after Tom and Kate Evans abandoned their legal fight, their son Alfie has died. Both parents have shown immense courage over the past months and in the final few days they have demonstrated a quiet dignity as Alfie’s death approached.
Inevitably, as he lay dying many have been moved by his plight. In some quarters, this has unfortunately led to denunciations of the doctors, the judges, and the legal system. Ill-informed and prominent voices—from America, in particular—have variously blamed his death on secularism, or the NHS, or ‘government death panels.’ Others in the UK have called for an ‘Alfie’s law’ designed to give parents greater rights over the treatment of their children.
It is at times of the greatest emotion that calls for changes in the law can be at their most seductive and ill-advised, and so it is now. Who, after all, would wish for another case like Alfie Evans or Charlie Gard? The law, and particularly the legal system, is certainly not faultless, but well-intentioned calls to give parents more legal rights over these terrible end of life decisions are fundamentally mistaken.