LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Court of Appeal has ruled against the parents of a terminally ill toddler who are seeking permission to take him to Italy for medical treatment.

The parents of Alfie Evans have been engaged in a protracted legal fight with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool over his care. Alfie’s parents were trying to overturn earlier rulings that have blocked further medical treatment. 

Alfie, now 23 months old, is in a “semi-vegetative state” as the result of a degenerative neurological condition that doctors have been unable to definitively identify. Courts have ordered life support to be withdrawn.

Pope Francis on Sunday prayed for Alfie and others who are suffering from serious infirmities.