The Value of a Human Life

Flora, formerly of the Ottawa Assembly, now runs Health Risk Navigation Inc. You can read more of her personal story here.

In the Geftakys’ organization, many of us experienced oppression, abuse of various sorts, rejection, and felt we could never measure up to what was expected of us no matter how hard we tried. However, many of us have also learned to find our refuge in the Lord, to experience God’s comfort, compassion, acceptance, and to grow in confidence of God’s value on our souls and our lives.

2 Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

God has brought me in touch with a particular sector of society that deeply needs people to reach out to them, as they experience on a daily basis, oppression, abuse of various sorts, rejection and a sense that they can never measure up to the expectations of others, especially their loved ones.

The needy ones that I am speaking about are those who are chemically injured / chemically sensitive. Society and governments do not value the existence of their lives, and they experience this suffering in multitudes of ways on a daily basis. Since God has also allowed me to become disabled with chemical injury, their experiences are also my experiences.

Our society is progressively diminishing the value of a human life at a rapid rate. When it comes to people dying because of guns, drunk driving, poor road conditions, etc, the value of human life is still very evident. Laws are made with lightning speed to prevent further lives from being lost. However, the life of the chemically sensitive / chemically injured individual appears to be viewed by those in power and authority as “necessary human collateral damage” for our modern daily lifestyle. No laws are made to prevent this illness or to provide any sort of support network for those who acquire this illness.

Globally, to my knowledge, there is no country and no government that is advocating for the life of the chemically sensitive individual. Here in Canada, we have government funded health care – rich and poor get equal health care coverage. However, the chemically sensitive patient is not accommodated in our health system. Even though chemical sensitivity is a recognized disability under our human rights code, there is not even one hospital in all of Canada that accommodates this illness.

Over and over again, the economic interests of the chemical industry and the revenue that comes into the government as a result of this industry, supersedes in value the protection of human life and human health. In the 2006 documentary “The Toxic Clouds of 9/11”, the US Chief Investigator for the Office of EPA Ombudsman, Hugh Kaufman, stated: “One of the things that we found in our investigation of the World Trade Centre case and is also occurring in response to the Hurricane Katrina case, is that economics is trumping public health and environmental protection.”

Since 1994, I have actively fought politicians regarding this. One politician laughed at my husband and told him that chemical sensitivity would NEVER be covered by the government in our health system. Another politician said to me: “Sorry to be crass and cruel, but you are just one life.”

Some of my main motivators in continuing this fight is talking with other chemically sensitive individuals on the phone and hearing their struggles for survival; also reading obituaries of individuals that have lost their survival fight. I very much feel like an Esther, pleading for my life and the lives of others who are chemically sensitive.

If you are reading this, and you don't know about the unique needs of the chemically injured / chemically sensitive individual, here is a link to a list of some unique requirements that these individuals face. These individuals are NOT allergic to chemicals in the environment. They are poisoned by these toxic chemicals, and consequently are in a poisoned condition.

One obvious method of fighting for the right to live is in the court system. In 1999, I had a major set back in my health, and decided to take legal action regarding my “right to life, liberty, and security of the person”.

My health had improved to the place where I could walk three miles over rough terrain. Then I was inadvertently exposed to a very toxic pesticide, about which the Material Safety Data Sheet states that it affects the central nervous system, the respiratory system, the kidney and the liver. In less than a month, I was struggling to walk ten feet, and lost a lot of functional ability.

So, I decided I wanted to fight this in court. I went to 20 different law firms for advice. They all told me the exact same thing. They all told me:

  1. I would win my case.
  2. The case would be precedent setting.
  3. It would go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada – the highest court in our country.
  4. I would not only be fighting every level of government, but the entire chemical industry as well, eg. the pesticide industry, the cosmetic industry, the plastic industry, etc.
  5. It would cost me mega millions of dollars.

Obviously, # 5 killed that course of action. My health status, like that of so many others, is constantly fluctuating - recovering and rebuilding, having a set back and spiraling downwards, then recovering and rebuilding, etc.

As Bible-believing Christians, we believe that our God is the Author of life and that God highly values human life, all human life, no matter their illness. Since there is no government, globally, advocating for their life or putting any kind of value on their existence, is there anything we can do as Christians that would demonstrate God values their life?

When one reaches out to these oppressed, confused, rejected individuals with compassion, comfort and endeavours to help them with their survival challenges, they are incredibly grateful and appreciative. This has led to many opportunities where I have been able to share Christ and the good news of the gospel.

Since our citizenship is in heaven and we are His ambassadors, does anyone have any Christ-honouring ideas how we can demonstrate that God values human life, even the life of the chemically injured? How can we provide effective, life-saving help?

If you would like more information, please let me know.

Resting in the God who is able,


Reader's Comment

January 31, 2008, "Simon" on the Assembly bulletin board: "Your post has made me aware of something I never even considered. There are probably many people who are very sensitive to chemicals who have been ignored or considered hypochondriacs. It's a terrible thing to be so misunderstood."

February 1, 2008, Flora: "Simon, you make a very good point. Chemical sensitivity is often very misunderstood. Before research discovered the cause of diabetes, it was viewed as a psychiatric illness. The same has also been true for chemical sensitivity. However, progress is being made in the area of medical research regarding chemical sensitivity. The medical researchers that have made major breakthroughs in the understanding of this illness have been the clinical toxicologists and the occupational health and safety doctors. Those who view chemical sensitivity as an allergy will never understand it. It must be viewed from the perspective of clinical toxicology to be understood. In essence, a chemically sensitive person is someone who has become poisoned by the toxic chemicals they encounter in their day to day activities. Hope this helps to shine some light on the subject."

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