Suppose I donated bone marrow to help save someone’s life . . . and you, to encourage people like me to step forward, offered college scholarships for such donations.
Most folks would applaud us. But not the federal government. It would charge us with a felony and send us to prison for up to five years.
The fear that people might sell their non-renewable organs — such as kidneys — for money, led Congress to pass The National Organ Transplant Act in 1984. The act also makes it illegal to compensate someone for donating bone marrow — which is renewable.
Thousands of Americans have rare and potentially fatal blood diseases requiring bone marrow transplants, often from a stranger. Every year thousands die because they can’t find donors.
The folks at MoreMarrowDonors.org want to recruit more donors through scholarships and financial incentives. Makes sense. But by law they can’t.
Doreen Flynn has three daughters with a blood disease. To fight their deadly disease, she is stepping forward to fight this deadly law that blocks their treatment.
Flynn and MoreMarrowDonors.org, represented by the Institute for Justice, have sued the U.S. Attorney General to overturn the ban on compensating bone marrow donors. The case is Flynn v. Holder.
Attorney Jeff Rowes put it plainly: “The bottom line is that throwing people in prison for trying to save lives isn’t just wrong; it’s unconstitutional.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.