Juvenile Diabetes Group Should Stop Backing Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Juvenile Diabetes Group Should Stop Backing Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Jill Stanek
July 29, 2005

LifeNews.com Note: Jill Stanek fought to stop "live birth abortions" after witnessing one as an RN at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Her speaking out led to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act legislation, signed by President Bush, that would ensure that proper medical care be given to unborn children who survive botched abortion attempts.

I’ve had it with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and how it exploits sick children to beg for money from legislators. I’ve also had it with legislators who make decisions about our money based on emotions rather than facts and who then exploit sick children for political gain.

I’ve been fuming for a while, but the last straw fell on July 12, when Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an executive order forcing Illinois taxpayers to fund embryonic stem-cell and human-cloning experimentation.

Blagojevich announced his edict at a well-orchestrated press conference, using a slick format I had seen many times around the country.

I anticipated Blagojevich would plant young diabetic decoys in front of his podium to ward off public outcry. And there they stood, with no clue they were there to promote the dissection of humans only a few years younger than themselves for the vague promise of "hope" for a cure for diabetes.

I also anticipated that the parent of a diabetic child would come forward to describe in graphic and emotional detail the upheaved life of his or her diabetic child.

And sure enough, up popped Gretchen Livingston, legislative chair for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

"Illinois can join the growing numbers of states that have embraced the best medical research man has to offer for the benefit of people like my daughter, Clara," said Livingston. "She has done her part by pricking her finger 10 times a day to test her blood sugar, putting a large needle into her stomach to deliver insulin, and counting the carbs of everything she eats. And now our elected leaders have done their part to support her."

(Note that it is politically acceptable to describe this sort of pain inflicted upon a child, yet it is politically incorrect to discuss the pain inflicted on children being aborted. Why? The former advances the culture of death and the latter detracts from it. But I digress.)

"The best medical research man has to offer"? Big, fat, sugar-laden lie.

"And now our elected leaders have done their part to support her." By throwing money into an ethical abyss that even supporters admit is highly speculative? Get real. A-plus for feel-good claptrap.

Those calling me heartless at this point couldn’t be more wrong. Every tax dollar that irresponsible or ignorant organizations, legislators and parents funnel into the embryonic stem-cell and human-cloning black hole is a dollar that could lead to an actual cure for diabetes, not "hope" of a cure. Adult and umbilical-cord stem-cell research is even now providing clues and treatments for an array of maladies. Embryonic stem cells have not so much as helped a mouse.

As one of embryonic stem-cell research’s most vocal proponents – which its own researchers and researchers’ friends financially benefit from, by the way – JDRF deserves scrutiny not only for its obsession, but also its tactics.

JDRF’s exploitation of children is purposeful. "You would be hard pressed to look into the face of a child – as legislators do – and tell them you do not support their hope for a cure for diabetes," said JDRF spokesman Peter Cleary to the National Journal, in January 2005.

But there’s more. Incredibly, JDRF forces its young donation magnets to sign a loyalty oath saying they will either "embrace" JDRF’s position on ESCR when pitching legislators for funds or remain silent on the topic. Read for yourself.

So, legislators beware: JDRF screens all prospective diabetic child lobbyists and their parents. Those opposing embryonic stem-cell experimentation are either gagged or forbidden to speak to you.

It is one thing for adults to weigh the profound ethical dilemmas surrounding embryonic stem-cell and cloning experimentation and make decisions about them with a full understanding of the consequences.

It is another to fill children with hope that their illness can be cured via this highly speculative and ethically challenged research and, further, exploit those hopes by sending them out to beg for money.

Shame on you, JDRF. There is never an excuse to kill children to save children, and worse, to brainwash children that there is.