The Corner

Health Care

Not All Immoral Organ Harvests Bother Transplant Community

In the China tyranny, political prisoners such as Falon Gong practitioners, are tissue typed, killed, and harvested. Their organs are sold for exorbitant prices to desperate people who travel to China to save their own lives at the cost of another’s.

China has promised to stop this gruesome trade, but hasn’t. And now, a major study reveals that more organs are transplanted in China than could have been supplied by dead donors ethically — and that medical-journal studies have been based on these criminal harvests. Outrage has ensued. From The Guardian story:

A report published in 2016 found a large discrepancy between official transplant figures from the Chinese government and the number of transplants reported by hospitals. While the government says 10,000 transplants occur each year, hospital data shows between 60,000 to 100,000 organs are transplanted each year. The report provides evidence that this gap is being made up by executed prisoners of conscience.

There are now calls for consequences:

The paper concludes: “The transplant community has failed to implement ethical standards banning publication of research using material from executed prisoners.

“As a result, a large body of unethical published research now exists, raising questions of complicity to the extent that the transplant community uses and benefits from the results of this research.

“We call for immediate retraction of all papers reporting research based on use of organs from executed prisoners, and an international summit to develop future policy for handling Chinese transplant research.

Amen to that.

But I couldn’t help reflect: Where is the similar outrage at transplant journals that have published studies from Belgium and the Netherlands tracking the legal killing of mentally ill and disabled patients via lethal-injection euthanasia, their harvesting, and subsequent transplantation of the organs thereby obtained? Nowhere, as far as I have seen — this despite one study tracking a mentally ill woman euthanized as a “treatment” for chronic self-harming and then harvested. The authors reported with satisfaction that her lungs worked splendidly in their new body.

Letting the desperate despairing believe that their deaths have greater value than their lives because of organ donation could be the tipping point that leads to a euthanasia request. Conjoining euthanasia and organ donation may be many things, but “ethical” and“ compassionate” aren’t two of them.

Nor has there been any significant pushback to the increasing advocacy in prominent bioethics and medical journals urging that the law allow euthanasia by heart-harvesting or other organ removal from the living — both to make them dead and obtain the “gift of life” — an atrocity that, thankfully, is not (yet) being done.

We should all support efforts to crack down on the awful China organ murders. But we should also insist that the organ transplant community cease its flirtation with conjoining euthanasia and organ harvesting. The last thing we need is another acute threat to basic human decency.

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