Wagner Email Bag: Stem Cell Research

Folks,

As you know, from time to time I get questions via email, and in answering them, want to share those responses with a broader audience in an effort to further instruct/encourage. Recently I was forwarded a request to read through the story of a woman who is precious to the Lord and suffering with Type 1 diabetes. As much as I sympathize with her plight and want to see the Lord heal her, I cannot Biblically justify some of her reasoning behind wanting to have research done for her disease in the manner she is pleading. Read below and think through how you would respond!

From: Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 11:33 AM
Subject: Pass this on!

Hey Peeps,

This is not my story. This is someone else’s, but she makes awesome points. She makes the same points that I try to make, but can’t always get across in a fluid fashion. I copied and pasted her story from the JDRF website so you might see the impact this stupid disease has on people who “follow the rules”. I realize that I have broken a few here and there, and so my credibility may be lacking. I urge you to think about this young lady and what she is saying. Furthermore, I don’t personally condone stem cell research on aborted fetuses, but there are tons in storage right now just sitting there. Use your judgement on that point. The rest of this stuff is dead on! So, please read it, think about it, and do something about it. Write somebody a letter. Donate a dollar the next time a Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund sneaker campaign comes around. Talk to your pharmacy reps and ask them why. Please, do something! My days are numbered folks. I have a beautiful little girl to raise and I cannot explain these things to her. So, please, do something. Thanks for reading my impassioned email for the day.;)

“I’ve had Type 1 diabetes for 40 years. I’m almost 42, so diabetes has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was diagnosed in 1969, medicines & care protocols were primitive by today’s standards – but they were affordable. Today, the insulin I use, available only with a prescription, is over $100 per bottle without insurance coverage. A bottle might last a month, but often doesn’t for most diabetics. Insulin is not a luxury; it is critical for surviving with Type 1 diabetes. Without insulin, we WILL die.

The test strips we use to check our blood glucose levels can cost nearly $125 for a box of 100, without insurance. Type 1s should test at least 4 times a day for adequate disease management. A box lasts less than a month at that rate of testing. I use an insulin pump, which is a much more powerful tool for disease management than multiple daily injections. The pump itself is a one-time cost ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. Yet I must meet a high deductible before insurance will cover even part of the cost of the supplies for the pump. The pump I use has disposable pods-which I fill with insulin-that must be changed every 3 days. A recent order of 3 boxes of pods cost $735. Based on that bill, a box of 10, which lasts a month, costs about $250. So every month I spend $250 on a box of pods, $100 for a bottle of insulin & $125 for a box of test strips. So diabetes costs me roughly $475 EACH month, not counting the cost of other meds I take.

And God help me if I lose my job & can’t get another one before my “prior credible coverage” period (usually 12 months) runs out. I’ll be unable to get health insurance on my own. Period. Once I find a job, I’ll be subject to a pre-existing condition waiting period, lasting anywhere from 6 months to a year or more. So insurance wouldn’t pay for the prescriptions & doctor visits I need in order to stay healthy, but they’d pay for the dialysis after my kidneys have failed because I couldn’t afford the insulin I need to survive. Illogical.

Something must be done to rein in the skyrocketing cost of the healthcare & meds we need just to survive. Insurance companies must be taken to task for their callous disregard for the health of their clients, & must reform their standards for coverage & care. Right now in America, insurance isn’t for healthcare; it’s for profit. That is greedy, shortsighted, & downright immoral.

Funding for research to cure Type 1 diabetes is just as important. So many huge advances have been made in the last few years in stem cell research that a cure may actually be found in my lifetime. People against embryonic stem cell research argue about the “rights of the unborn”, but my response is that I am already here & I am suffering. Am I less deserving of rights than a clump of cells in a petri dish? If so, why? Elected officials spend a lot of time worrying about the “unborn” while their living constituents suffer physically.”

From: pastoraloffice
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2011 10:17 AM
To: Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
Subject: RE: Pass this on!

Xxxxxxx,

With great compassion for this woman (it is easy to empathize with her), she is sadly participating in furthering a very dangerous idea about the dignity of life and so I could not support forwarding her email as it is currently composed. Her points are strong enough without having to make the case that the unborn should be compromised. As sad as it is (her thinking is the same thinking of those who follow her same line of reasoning that only the strongest and healthiest forms of life should survive) that others would argue toward the elimination of the weak amongst us who have diabetes (those whose clumps of cells are predisposed to need insulin and expensive care to survive). I am sure she would not like hearing this, but that untenable and offensive thinking is rooted in the same argument she makes about compromising the unborn for her good. They are already here as well…only not in as strong a position to defend themselves. As people who know that the value of all human life is rooted in the image of the One who created us and not in our utility or strength, we cannot be casual about our stance on this subject.

Bless you and may the Lord allow us to find relief for diabetics in the form of better more affordable treatments soon.

Todd Wagner | pastoraloffice@watermark.org
www.twitter.com/wordsfromwags
www.watermark.org
214.239.8809

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Wagner Email Bag: Stem Cell Research

  1. What I’m surprised about is that folks are not talking about the number of stem cells in umbilical cords. What if folks who wanted to help diabetes research started donating their stem cells from umbilical cords? I think this would be win-win for both sides.

    Thank you for standing for the life of the unborn. God bless you.

  2. Hey Todd,

    I agree with your comment. I am by no means well educated on the particulars of Stem Cell Research, but I am fully aware of the situational pain drives people to seek that which they think will give release from their circumstances. Whether or not, the fetus’ were recently killed or were frozen for a 1,000 years is not the point. Life is life, and it should be respected and cared for, as if it were your own. But there is a larger issue at stake here:

    The object of the original person’s email is completely understandable. Her predicament is a serious one, both monetarily and emotionally. It would be easy for any of us, when in her situation, to feel isolated, unwanted, uncared for, with no viable options, living in perpetual fear for what may happen in the future, putting everything into our jobs (and potentially our savings) so that the unthinkable never comes to pass.

    But the larger issue for both people who brought this forward is in what do they place their trust. Dependance upon God in a situation like this is hard and difficult to say the least, and not easily given or grown (and ultimately impossible if left to ourselves). But in a situation like this, trust is only thing that will suffice. The company will close one day, the workers laid-off, the bills will build, the daughter (of whom the woman has to raise) will eventually get sick herself, the house may get taken away, the food may run out, and the medicine (that keeps her alive) will eventually begin to be rejected by her own body as her kidneys crumble and fail. Eventually, all that we place our trust in, whether its medicine or employment, wealth, or even family – all of that will eventually crumble and fall.

    That’s why we MUST place our trust in something that is real. In something that won’t ever fail or crumble. That’s why a dependance upon God is so crucial; in everything in this life, but so much more so in circumstances like these. Jesus himself said (speaking to a woman at a well), “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

    This Jesus, this Son of man, this God in the flesh, who holds the name that is above every name (YHWH), in Him and through Him, we can receive a trust that can never fail. Because of Him (if we truly accept Him as our Lord), we have life eternal. But He’s not just an exit clause, HE is the contract by which we bind ourselves to. He gives us freedom from that which never satisfies. He gives us release from that which will ultimately fail. He gives us resolution against that which would be corrupted. He feeds our every need and He will sate every thirst.

    His way is not our own, and He may never take away their diabetes or heal their broken body or correct any other multitude of heartbreaks that occurs in a person’s life. But He has and will continue to, care for us in ways that we can only begin to understand. But it is up to us to ask, in what do I place my trust? In whom do I depend upon? The dead frozen baby of which we keep entombed, or in the GOD who left an empty one?