March 3, 2010
A new federal lawsuit argues that compensating bone marrow donors, currently a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, should be legal.
The suit, brought by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, argues that the National Organ Transplant Act's ban on paying for bone marrow violates the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause.
- The Institute for Justice argues that the compensation ban denies equal protection by arbitrarily and irrationally treating renewable bone-marrow cells like non-renewable solid organs such as kidneys.
- It instead should be treated like other renewable or inexhaustible cells such as blood cells, sperm cells and egg cells, for which compensated donation is legal.
- The suit also argues that the compensation ban violates Plaintiffs' substantive-due-process right to participate in safe, accepted, lifesaving medical treatment.
- Marrow typically is fully replenished within weeks of being donated.
Every year 1,000 Americans die because they cannot find a matching marrow donor. If donors could be compensated with rewards such as $3,000 scholarship or a month's mortgage payment, Institute for Justice suggests, many of those deaths could be avoided.
Source: Ronald Bailey, "Marrow Markets," Reason, April 2010.
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