I rarely frequent the Huffington Post, and now I remember why.  I knew this argument was going to eventually come from the left.  Jacob M. Appel, a bioethicist who recently taught at Brown University in Providence, RI, wonders if we are ready for a market in fetal organs.  Forget just doing ESCR to find cures – why stop there?  Let’s go whole hog and farm fetuses for our benefit!  He writes:

The first striking feature of fetal organs is that their supply, for all practical purposes, is unlimited. Unlike living kidney donors, who must then advance through life with only one functioning kidney, pregnant women who provide fetal kidneys could do so repeatedly without incurring the medical consequences of adult organ loss. When overseen by properly-trained physicians, abortion is an extremely safe procedure — even safer than delivering an infant at term. Since far more women have legal abortions each year in the United States than would be required to clear organ wait-lists, if only a small percentage of those women could be persuaded to carry their fetuses to the necessary point of development for transplantation, society might realize significant public health benefits. The government could even step into the marketplace itself to purchase fetal organs for patients on Medicare and Medicaid, ensuring that low-income individuals had equal access to such organs while keeping the "asking price" elevated.

Opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions — which will indeed be the logical result. However, such a market might also bring solace to women who have already decided upon abortion, but desire that some additional social good come from the procedure. Like the families of accident victims who donate the organs of their loved ones, these women could well find their decisions fortified by the public benefit that they generate. An additional economic incentive would further assuage any doubts, and might even make the procedure more palatable to otherwise equivocal spouses or partners. Of course, those who believe that life begins at conception will never find such a market desirable. But for those of us, myself included, who sincerely believe that human life begins far later in the growth process, I believe that we have a moral duty to women to give due consideration to the legalization of such a fetal-organ trade. Society should not curtail a woman’s economic liberty without a compelling reason any more than it should curtail her reproductive liberty.

This is the slippery slope of ESCR, and this is where we are headed when we trump life with “choice” and “reproductive liberty.”  It may seem far-fetched, but this is proof that some think it’s a good idea.

Update (3/20/09): Angel, yep some in this country have lost their minds.  Thanks for the link!


  1. oh dear, that is insane. Like a nightmare. I don't know how people can dishonor their fellow man and become so inhuman – no matter how you justify it.

  2. Something like this could happen if we who believe in life let it. I can foresee a time though, if this world keeps going the way it is, that it could happen anyway. People lured by the thought of new organs to extend life. Others willing to get pregnant in order to abort and get paid for it. People with no knowledge of God, trying to be god. We have got to stay strong and keep praying that eyes will be opened.

  3. The line just keeps moving, doesn't it? The kid's going to be aborted anyway, right? Why not? What if we needed a more developed organ? Could we start having kids for the express purpose of harvesting their organs? Maybe we could deliberately put them into a vegetative state and have a farm of vegetative humans of all ages with organs ripe for the taking.

  4. I pray that parents and youth ministers are able with the Lord's help to teach and reach thier own youth for what seems to be an era of Frankenstien.

  5. O.K. I think if I had read this anywhere else I would think it is a joke. I know that some people say that I have my head in the sand and don't look at all sides of the issues but I can't believe that this is an idea that has any credibility. Not just that I am totally against abortion, but putting this idea in the same catagory as families that have lost their children and donate organs out of love, I just can't even fathom that. I think what enraged me the most was the comment about “a woman's economic liberty” As the mother of 4 that has also lost a baby in a misscarrige I can tell you that I have NEVER looked at my children as a way to earn money in anyway!!

  6. 1. I like HuffPo
    2. I don't believe life begins at conception


    this article is super creepy.

  7. Up next: once the gov't. controls healthcare, lock, stock and barrel, they'll start letting people die (because it “costs too much” to treat them) and then they'll say “well, since you're not going to be using thoe organs, we might as well just take them–after all, only moral troglodytes would object to something that helps so many people!”*

    You call this a slippery slope? I call it a trap door into a pool full of crocodiles.

    *Yes, I am aware of the sickening irony here that is also inherent in the OP.

  8. I worked at Iowa Right to Life for three years and we would frequently hear about this already happening. We heard that institutions and laboratories could order any fetal parts they might need for different kinds of research. They might order a fetal arm, leg, chest, whatever and could get it delivered. All these aborted babies are going somewhere. How do we know where and how these babies are being disposed of? This information was coming from groups doing research into the abortion industry and I regret that I cannot remember the details any more. I have no doubt that fetal parts are being marketed all the time.

  9. This was very disturbing. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would think this is “OK.”

  10. I didn't know you worked for IRLC, were you working with Kim Lehman or was that before her?

    Right now it is likely done in darkness, could you imagine if it were done in the “light of day” and find acceptance?

  11. Some really, really sick individuals. I think for this guy it is part of his “business plan” similar to Richard Singer of Princeton – say things that are so outrageous that you gather attention. To that end I really struggled with linking to this guy, but I decided that people need to be aware that this POV is out there.

    It may be on the fringes now, but as people increasingly place value on life based on “size” it could find more acceptance.

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