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High Court Rules Hospital Can Shut Off 12-Year-Old Boy’s Life Support over his parents’ objections

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The country’s Supreme Court has backed the decision of a British hospital to override his parents’ wishes and take 12-year-old Archie Battersbee off of life support. Removal is scheduled for today.

According to ITV News, a lower court judge previously agreed with the hospital “that removing Archie’s life support is in his best interest. The judge pointed to medical evidence that found ‘damage to [Archie’s] brain has deprived him of any bodily autonomy.’”

In the ruling Tuesday, the high court wrote: “As Sir Andrew MacFarlane recorded in his earlier judgment of July 25, there is no prospect of any meaningful recovery. Even if life-sustaining treatment were to be maintained, Archie would die in the course of the next few weeks through organ failure and then heart failure.”

His mother, Hollie Dance, told ITV News she believed her fight for her son’s life was “at the final stage” on Tuesday morning, as the family made a bid to the Supreme Court to extend his life support beyond midday so that his case could be considered by the United Nations.

But three judges at the Supreme Court said they would not hear the appeal, as, having reviewed the case papers, they were “satisfied not only that the Court of Appeal has not erred [in refusing an extension] but that it made the correct decision”.

“They’re not just taking a child away from me and Paul [Battersbee]. They’re destroying the whole family,” Dance said after the ruling Tuesday. “It’s not right, it’s not right, and something needs to be done – reform desperately needs to be taking place in this country.”

On April 7, Archie was discovered unconscious “with a ligature [essentially a noose] over his head. His mother, Holly Dance, said she thinks her son was trying an online challenge.” He suffered massive brain damage.

ITV News reported

In a statement issued by the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the legal action by Archie’s parents, Ms Dance said she and Archie’s father Paul Battersbee were “extremely disappointed” by the decision.

“No authorities, other than the UN [Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities], have shown any compassion or understanding to us as a family,” she said. “We will fight until the

Ms Dance last evening said Barts Health NHS Trust “would begin to withdraw Archie’s treatment on Wednesday at 11am unless the family has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights by 9am.”

“Heartbreakingly, the hospital trust have told us this evening that we cannot move Archie to a hospice,” she said in a statement. 

“We want to make an urgent application to the European Court of Human Rights, but the trust are saying that that has to be submitted at 9am, which gives us and our lawyers no time to prepare it. 

“They also demand to see a copy of it, which they have no right to see. However if this does not happen, they say they will withdraw treatment tomorrow morning at 11am. This is cruel and we are absolutely appalled.”


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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