In any normal legislative session for New York state, hundreds of bills pass through the Assembly and Senate without garnering much public attention. They could propose renaming a bridge in a town you’ve never heard of after Pee Wee Herman. They could include changing the benches from plastic to wood in a state park somewhere upstate. Or they could be about human body part trade.
Yesterday, in a 60-1 vote, the New York Senate passed a bill that would prohibit the sale of human body parts, unless the practice is validated by law (i.e. hospitals, clinics, etc.). For whatever the reason, current public health law only covers the territory of human organs, not body parts. And that’s become a huge problem.
The bill’s justification (or its “logical nexus”) for passage is pretty grim. Apparently, there has been a spike in “scandals involving the illegal buying, selling and distribution of human tissue by funeral homes and licensed biomedical companies.” So funeral homes have been stealing parts of the deceased before embalming them in exchange for payment from large medical conglomerates–if that doesn’t sound like the plot of a horror movie, we don’t what does.
Luckily, the topic isn’t as controversial as Cuomo’s upcoming Women’s Equality Act. Since your average politician is presumably pro-human-body-parts, it’s expected that the bill will pass in the Assembly.
You can read the entire thing here. Let’s just say the bill uses the term “harvesting” a few times.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 8, 2013