WANT TO SELL YOUR BONE MARROW? THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS SAYS IT IS OK

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This is a NOT a photo of an open-faced sandwich; it is a photo of bone marrow.

OUR VIEW: Close, lock this door

http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20131201/NEWS/131129803?p=1&tc=pg

Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 29, 2013 at 5:44 p.m.

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There’s only one country on the planet where it’s legal to sell human organs for transplantation. That’s Iran, and only kidneys qualify.

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The National Organ Transplant of 1984 codified the prohibition in the United States, and violators face five years in prison and a $50,000 fine. That act doesn’t just cover hearts, lungs, livers and kidneys, it specifically includes bone marrow.

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However, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [why am I not surprised that it was this Court – Abyssum]  in 2011, ruling in a suit filed against the federal government by a libertarian organization, opened the door for bone marrow donors who give in a specific way to be compensated. Most donations now are done through a blood-filtering process that’s much like donating blood plasma. Since blood plasma donors can be paid, the court ruled bone marrow donors can be as well, as long as the blood-filtering process is used to collect the material.
The Obama administration wants to shut that door. It plans to revise some regulations to make clear that the ban applies to bone marrow and the stem cells it contains, period, regardless of how it’s obtained.

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We know how many people with various leukemias and anemias, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin’s disease, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other disorders can be saved by bone marrow transplants. We also know how many people with those diseases die waiting for a compatible donor match to be found. However, we believe this is a door that ought to be closed, and locked.
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Those who support compensation for donors argue that it would entice more people, especially those with rare types of bone marrow, to become part of the national registry and increase the chances of those in need finding a match.

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That might very well happen. However, we’re talking about a process that can take four hours to complete and, in difficult cases, can require veins in the groin, neck or collarbone to be used. Plus for up to five days before the actual collection, a donor must take injections of a drug that stimulates stem cell growth, but typically causes bone pain and headaches.

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We have visions of desperate people, with no other options and nothing to lose, lining up to undergo all that just for a paycheck, not to help others.

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Libertarian absolutists will say, “So what?”

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Well, the head of the national bone marrow registry, which would benefit the most from an expanded donor base, wants the ban left in place, and pointed out that compensation is banned by all other bone marrow registries in the world. We’d prefer the U.S. not be mentioned in the same breath as Iran as far as what’s permissible.

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The Obama administration has drawn heat, rightfully so in our opinion, for its willingness to change policies by executive action. However, we doubt it’s violating the spirit of the 1984 law with its intentions here. This particular “ends justifies the means” path should be avoided.

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DISCLAIMER

This Blog is not opposed to organ transplantation.  Many people have benefited from an organ transplantation.  However, since organs cannot be harvested from a dead body, but only from a body that still has a beating heart and functioning lungs the temptation for some medical practitioners is to harvest organs prematurely.    Since 1968 under the Harvard University definition of “brain death” many persons have had their organs harvested while their body was still alive, even though perhaps terminally ill.  The term for that procedure is passive euthanasia.  Human organs should never be harvested well in advance of the natural cessation of the total complexus of natural signs of life.  And should not be harvested  without the expressed consent of the donor and/or the donor’s surrogate (e.g. a family member).  Human organs should never be bought and sold.  The reality is that in addition to the humanitarian aspects of organ transplantation, organ transplantation involves money, lots of money (The average cost of transplantation in 2008 ranged from $259,000 for a single kidney to over $1,200,000 for a heart-lung transplant), and where money becomes a factor human greed produces morally unacceptable practices.

– Abyssum

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About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
This entry was posted in ADULT STEM CELLS, BRAIN DEATH, HEALTH CARE, LIFE ISSUES, MEDICAL-MORAL PROBLEMS, MORAL RELATIVISM, ORGAN DONATION, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, POLITICAL LIFE IN AMERICA, SCIENCE AND ETHICS, SUICIDE, THE RIGHT TO LIFE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.