State Dept. voices support for family of terminally ill British toddler

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert tweeted her support for the family of Alfie Evans, the British infant ordered to be taken off life support despite his family's wishes for him to be treated in Italy.

Evans, who is 23 months old, has been in the hospital for months fighting a serious illness that required he be put on a ventilator. He was taken off life support this week, but has continued to breathe on his own, causing his parents to renew their legal challenges.

"Our hearts and prayers are with brave #Alfie Evans, his family and friends. We understand the last few months have been difficult for them. We respect British law but we also appreciate Italy's efforts to fulfill the family's wishes," Nauert tweeted.

On Tuesday, a British judge ruled against the parents and declared that Evans could not be removed and flown to the Vatican for further treatment, arguing it would just prolong the child's suffering.

Conservatives have rallied behind the Evans family, accusing the British government of imposing its will on a family against their own religious beliefs and rights to determine their son's treatment.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) urged the British government on Wednesday to "grant the Evans family's request to treat their precious child in Italy."

"It is a sad irony that while the people of the UK are busy celebrating a royal birth, its government is brushing off a commoner's right to life," Cruz tweeted, referring to the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton's third child earlier this week.