A controversial American pastor was initially refused permission to pray with Charlie Gard and his parents at Great Ormond Street Hospital, as high-profile publicity continues to surround the case of the terminally ill-baby in London.
Pro-life advocates in the US have voiced their support for the Gard family, while the High Court in London has today said it will hear new evidence in the case.
Rev Patrick Mahoney, 63, is a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church who visited Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London to pray with the Gard family, but was reportedly blocked from doing so for 'security' reasons, he told the Daily Mail.
Mahoney is an outspoken activist and self-described 'outspoken prophetic voice for ending the violence of abortion'. He has previously been arrested for protesting against abortion. He described his trip to the UK as a 'faith journey', leading a campaign to 'save Charlie's life'. After being denied access to Charlie, he said: 'In 40 years of pastoral ministry, I have never once been denied the right to pray over a patient in a hospital.
'This continues to show Great Ormond Street Hospital's disregard for the wishes of Charlie's parents. First the hospital denies care, and now they deny prayer.' However, Mahoney was later allowed to pray with the family.
He said on social media: 'Let's believe for a miracle and that Great Ormond Street hospital would continue do the right thing.'
Charlie's life has hung in the balance since his birth. The 11-month-old suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic illness which leads to progressive brain and muscle damage. He is blind, deaf and unable to move or breathe without a ventilator. GOSH determined that he should be taken off his life support.
Charlie's parents raised £1.3 million in crowdfunding to fund experimental treatment in the US but judges at the European Court of Human Rights have refused to let him go because they believed further intervention will 'continue to cause Charlie significant harm'. The Pope and President Trump have expressed their support for Gard and his parent's wishes.
Joining the chorus, pro-life leaders in the US have said that the coverage of the Gard case is vital, and relates to the debate about healthcare in the US.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B Anthony List, a pro-life political group, told MRC Culture she was grateful for President Trump highlighting Gard's case on Twitter.
'He can make real news, not fake news,' she said. 'And there's nothing more real than the power of a story where there's sort of a utilitarian authority saying, 'This life is not worth saving, and I'm not even going to let the parents get involved and try to save the life.'
She added: 'The authority of an entity of the medical authorities to determine life and death versus a parent that wants to take care of their child.
'Those are mutually exclusive claims that are in conversation right now. Complete coverage of that is vital because it will determine in many ways how we design our own health care system.'
In London, the High Court will today hear new evidence in the Gard case, according to BBC News. Gard's parents on Sunday gave GOSH a 350,000 signature petition calling for Gard's passage to the US for treatment.
GOSH said it would send the case back to court after international healthcare facilities offered 'fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment' for Charlie.