The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 America Rabbis – joins Klal Yisrael in mourning the passing of two-year-old Alta Fixsler. Alta, a baby girl who suffered a serious brain injury at birth and whose parents heroically fought a legal battle to continue her medical treatment, died at a Manchester hospice after being taken off life support.
Her parents went to court earlier this year to save her life after Manchester University NHS foundation trust, which had treated Alta since birth, decided that it was in Alta’s best interest to remove life support and allow her to die. Alta’s parents went so far as to seek the courts’ permission to take their daughter to the United States or Israel, where hospitals offered to care for Alta. Astonishingly, the English courts denied that request as well. Sadly, the European court of human rights also rejected an appeal by her parents and upheld the English court’s decision to place Alta on palliative care which took her life.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “words cannot express our deep outrage over the passing of Alta Fixsler. As rabbis, we are shocked by the way the courts have shown disregard for the family’s religious convictions about the sanctity of life. It is inconceivable that courts can be so unaccommodating to alternative medical views on what was best for the baby, even when overseas hospitals were willing to follow a different treatment that was consistent with the parents’ wishes. It is disheartening to see the disrespect for deeply held religious views. The courts involved in this issue have disgraced themselves by allowing a young girl to die despite her parents’ superhuman efforts to find ways to keep her alive.”
As the Rabbinical Alliance of America joins Klal Yisrael in mourning Alta Fixsler’s passing, we call upon all decent people to work on legal change that would prevent such a tragedy from reoccurring. We must honor Alta’s memory by becoming better people and a better society. Therefore, the Rabbinical Alliance of America encourages people to engage in acts of charity and kindness in memory of Alta. Let us focus on improving ourselves by helping others. Let us try to make this world a better place for all people.