Plan to encourage organ, bone marrow donations from prisoners condemned by some

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Thu, February 2nd 2023, 7:27 PM EST)

BOSTON (TND) — Organ and bone marrow donations save lives. More donations mean more lives saved. What could be wrong with that?

A bill “to establish the Massachusetts Incarcerated Individual Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program” in the Bay State is not getting universal praise.

It would reduce the sentences of prisoners in state facilities by between 60 days and a year “on the condition that the incarcerated individual has donated bone marrow or organ(s).”

Some people say that’s not ethical and the head of a group against prisons used stronger language.

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A bill “to establish the Massachusetts Incarcerated Individual Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Program” in the Bay State is not getting universal praise. (SBG San Antonio file)

“When I saw the bill, it just smacked as unethical and depraved,” Michael Cox, executive director of Black and Pink Massachusetts, told “And the reason is because it is unethical to sell organs; it is unethical to incentivize the selling of organs for very, very good reasons.

He said it would be “appalling” to exchange body parts for time and freedom.

It may also run afoul of the National Organ Transplant Act that Congress passed in the early 1980s.

That law says it’s illegal “for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation” and a person could be fined $50,000 and go to prison for five years.

One of the Massachusetts bill’s sponsors told he was inspired by a friend who needs dialysis three to four times a week until he gets a new kidney.

”He’s a father of three children and is in stage 4 of kidney failure,” State Rep. Carlos González said.

He also mentioned that broadening the pool of potential donors would help Hispanic and Black people more at risk of organ failure.


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