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United Kingdom: the case of little Isaiah. Kiska (lawyer), “parents’ right to decide on their child’s life should be suspended only in exceptional circumstances”

It should be his parents, not the State, who decide on the life of little Isaiah Haastrup, the 11-month-old baby who suffered catastrophic brain damage after being deprived of oxygen at birth at King’s College Hospital in London, despite a High Court judge’s ruling that treatment can be withdrawn. Roger Kiska is a Catholic lawyer specialised in family law and an adviser to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and deals with cases similar to those of Isaiah and Charlie Gard, the child suffering from a rare genetic condition who died last July after his life-support was withdrawn. Kiska is convinced that “the right of parents to decide on their child’s life should be suspended only in exceptional circumstances”. According to lawyer Kiska, it is Isaiah’s parents, Lanre Hasstrup and Takessha Thomas, who “are best placed to judge if their child is suffering and whether to risk withdrawing his life-support because it is in his best interest to do so”. “I am concerned because in British society, which is so secularized, there is no respect for life”. This is a different point of view from that of the judge, Alistair MacDonald, who said in his ruling that he had put the best interest of the child first, stating that it was “not in the child’s best interest to continue on life support”.

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