Here are some facts about bone marrow donation:
1. Thousands of Americans die of various blood diseases each year because they cannot find matching bone marrow donors.
2. Donor compensation could substantially increase the number of people who sign up to be a potential bone marrow match.
3. Advances in medical technology have made the extraction of the hematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow essentially as easy as blood donation.
4. Last month a unanimous three-judge panel ruled in favor of a nonprofit group, MoreMarrowDonors.org
, that wants to encourage bone marrow donations by offering $3,000 scholarships, housing allowances, or charitable donations to those who are matched with blood disease patients. The donor group said the application of the National Organ Transplant Act, which includes bone marrow among the "organs" that cannot be sold, violated the equal-protection clause, because there is no rational basis for government to treat donors undergoing apheresis differently from blood or sperm donors.
5. The Justice Department and the National Marrow Donor Program have moved quickly to try to overturn the decision that would allow compensation for bone marrow donors. Reasons? The Justice Department claims that that donor compensation undermines Congress’s clear policy of allowing only voluntary bone marrow donations. The National Marrow Donor Program claims that "a donor system that relies on the human desire to help others is far superior to one that focuses on self-gain."
MP: So the government and the National Marrow Donor Program want to perpetuate a needless bone marrow shortage and thereby sentence thousands of Americans to a guaranteed death sentence as a direct consequence of the artificial bone marrow shortage. Just wondering - would the National Marrow Donor Program likewise suggest that donor systems for food, clothing, cars, and shelter, which rely on the human desire to help others, are far superior systems to ones that focus on self-interest and self-gain? How would your current diet compare, in terms of quantity and quality, to the food available to you if you had to rely on the human desire of wheat farmers in Kansas, cattle ranchers in Texas, and dairy farmers in Wisconsin to help others and supply you with your food?
Question: Are there any material differences between the provision of life-sustaining food products and the provision of life-sustaining bone marrow that would justify allowing market transactions for food but not bone marrow? If so, what are those differences?