Organs from death row

April 25, 2011
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A news article about an Oregon man on death row made me consider something I never had before: organ donation from those put to death.

Christian Longo wants to donate his organs after he’s executed by lethal injection. The 37-year-old was convicted of killing his wife and three children. He says he’ll drop his appeals if he’s allowed to donate. Interesting bargaining chip, as appeals can last years and be costly.

His request has been rejected, as have the requests of other death row inmates who want to donate organs. In Indiana, Gregory Scott Johnson wanted to donate part of his liver to his sick sister. Johnson believed the Indiana Parole Board violated the Indiana Constitution by denying his request. Gov. Mitch Daniels also denied clemency, saying doctors had recommend the sister try to find a donor through conventional methods and there was no clear medical advantage to receiving Johnson’s liver, according to news accounts. Johnson was executed in May 2005.

There are many arguments against allowing death row inmates to donate organs. The lethal injections could harm or impact the organs. Who would pay for tests on these organs to see if they are usable? Will death row inmates be coerced into donating their organs or more people sentenced to die with the hope of donating the organs? In China, the majority of donated organs come from prisoners.

But, to play devil’s advocate, what if there is no harm from the injections to the organs and they could be used to save people’s lives? In Indiana, there are 35 people awaiting heart transplants, more than 1,200 who need a kidney transplant, and 97 awaiting liver transplants. There are more than 1,400 people in Indiana and more than 110,000 nationwide who are awaiting transplants.

Why shouldn’t someone who freely makes the decision to donate his or her organs be allowed to do so? They aren’t going to need them after death.

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  • Organs From Death Row
    Sure, why not. Only as long as it is OK with the Death Row person. I do not think it would be acceptable to do it afterwards without their consent beforehand.

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  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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