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The parents of Charlie Gard, whose battle to get their critically ill baby experimental treatment stirred international sympathy and controversy, dropped their legal effort Monday. (July 24)
AP

LONDON — Charlie Gard’s parents are spending their “last precious moments” with their terminally ill son after withdrawing from a legal battle to take him to the United States for treatment. It is a heart-wrenching case. It has also completely overshadowed a separate legal challenge in the same court — of a man who wants the right to die. 

Noel Conway, 67, has motor neuron disease, which progressively damages the nervous system. He is seeking permission to let a British doctor prescribe him a fatal drug which he will take when his condition deteriorates. He wants to “say goodbye at the right time.”

In a recent interview with the BBC, Conway said that he did not want to be in a “zombie-like condition, suffering both physically and psychologically.”

While the infant’s plight has received massive international attention and Conway’s has not, the legal roots of the two cases are intertwined: In Britain, the courts make right-to-life decisions, not the patients or families, as is the case in the United States.

Conway’s case, which Britain’s High Court is still hearing, is different to Charlie’s.

For a start, Charlie is too young to be his own advocate. The 11-month-old has a rare genetic disorder that has left him with brain damage and unable to move, see or hear.

His parents wanted him to try a radical untested therapy offered by Michio Hirano, a U.S. neurologist. Charlie’s British doctors did not think it would work and could even prolong his suffering. They ended their legal fight Monday after Hirano advised them it was too late to try the treatment and…