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Medicine The Almighty Buck

The Real Body Snatchers 280

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC are reporting on a grisly trade lying behind the booming business for replacement body parts in medical procedures. Many unscrupulous "dealers" will procure body parts from anyone willing to deal them — e.g., undertakers, medics — and will process them for resale onto legitimate companies. Apparently a fully processed cadaver can fetch up to $250,000. Now, who says I'm worth more alive than dead?"
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The Real Body Snatchers

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  • by Malevolent Tester ( 1201209 ) * on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:28AM (#22794512) Journal
    Want to own your own home instead of leeching one off the taxpayer? Apply inside. $250,000 could be yours.
  • by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:29AM (#22794516)
    I honestly don't get the big deal with this. Now myself I am religious, but when I'm dead. I'm dead. And unless we figure out how to freeze people then revive them, this doesn't seem like a big deal. You get your grave for people to remember you, and your organs are put to good use. Seems like a fair trade to me.
    • by duguk ( 589689 )
      Agreed, I've tried to look into seeing if my body could be worth something after I'm dead (I doubt it), but is there some system for this? Some extreme donor card perhaps?

      Anyone know how you might get into this - as stock, not an employee...

    • by Corf ( 145778 )
      Carve me up and part me out. As long as it isn't before my time, I'm totally fine with that. A last bit of altruism, I guess, that doesn't even cost me anything.
      • by Shajenko42 ( 627901 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:47AM (#22795402)

        Carve me up and part me out. As long as it isn't before my time, I'm totally fine with that.
        The bolded part is what worries me. As far as I'm concerned, as soon as I close my eyes for the last time the entire universe will cease to exist. But if a doctor who is responsible for saving my life is thinking anywhere in his mind, "There's a kid in Tennesee who could really use this guy's liver" and decides not to try so hard to keep me alive, I'm going to do whatever I can to keep that from happening even if it means my organs go to waste.
    • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:37AM (#22794604) Journal
      I honestly don't get the big deal with this.

      The issue isn't that your body parts shouldn't be used to help someone else, the issue is that these folks were simply taking the parts, or the entire body, without the permission of either the deceased or their families. Essentially, they were grave robbers without the grave.

      It comes down to consent. Think of it as an extended form or Opt-in. Unless you specifically say you want your parts to go to someone else, they stay with you.

      Then of course there are the whole host of religious issues which don't need to be discussed but should be mentioned in relation to the above reason.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ajcham ( 1179959 )
        Having watched the BBC documentary, the bigger issue is that of the use of diseased or otherwise unsuitable bodies. For instance one guy they spoke to contracted Hepatitis from an illegally supplied transplant.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mcmonkey ( 96054 )

          Having watched the BBC documentary, the bigger issue is that of the use of diseased or otherwise unsuitable bodies. For instance one guy they spoke to contracted Hepatitis from an illegally supplied transplant.

          Spot on. Consent isn't really an issue in my mind. If the body didn't sign an organ donor card while alive, you can always get consent post-mortem. "If you have any reservations about me taking your organs, please let me know. What? No objections? Alright then." [Sound of chainsaw starting.]

      • by darkmeridian ( 119044 ) <> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:20AM (#22795060) Homepage
        The grave robbers in this case stole parts from people who died of hepatitus, HIV, and other highly-contagious and deadly diseases. Setting aside concern for the family of the dead; think about the living who receive bone implants from an AIDS victim.
        • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
          The standard procedure is to check the implant before the transplantation. It surely will be checked for obvious infections like hepatitis and HIV.
      • It comes down to consent. Think of it as an extended form or Opt-in. Unless you specifically say you want your parts to go to someone else, they stay with you.

        Also, they're making big $$$ over selling these parts, so it's not just a matter of helping people. And since money's involved, who's to say the parts they're selling are transplant quality.
        • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:15AM (#22795782)
          And since money's involved, who's to say the parts they're selling are transplant quality.

          Transplant quality? Of course it's transplant quality! Here at Honest Ed's Used Body Parts, all our parts are transplant quality! Take this pelvis for instance, almost good as new. Belonged to a little old lady who only used it to walk to church on Sundays. What? Yeah, I suppose that could be a little osteoporosis there, but I'll have the boys in the shop fix that right up. Put a couple of titanium pins in and it's good as new. Listen, if it's such a big problem, I can even throw in a couple of ears to sweeten the deal, maybe a lung.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by orielbean ( 936271 )
        You have described one of the big concerns, but there's another even larger concern regarding health care. We have structured our health care system to provide care to everyone and to try as hard as we can to keep people alive. We change how bill collectors treat medical debt, we force hospitals to heal illegal immigrants at the cost of taxpayers, we demand that the elderly be given some form of care even when they are old, chronically ill, and broke. It's like the adversarial system for lawyers; we protec
        • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:25AM (#22795874) Journal
          We have structured our health care system to provide care to everyone

          You must not live in the US, I'm guessing Canada. Here the poor have no health care, and many middle class people have no health care either because they can't afford the insurance premiums. Since the poor can't go to a doctor and fix a problem when it's small, their only health care is the emergency room. Lack of mental health care causes massive homelessness for crazy people who could be treated and become productive members of society.

          Debt collectors for doctors hound you just as hard here as credit card companies. Doctors and nurses do it for the money - the dentist I had when young (he's long since died) said that when he was in college he decided on dentistry when his wife ran up huge dental bills.

          America is a land whose inhabitants worship the almighty dollar to the exclusion of everything else, where husband and wife work and strangers raise their children in day care centers, since the money is more important than their own kids (My ex stayed home, but we were the exception). Money here is even more important than life, liberty, love, and friendship. Money is seen to equal happiness.

          It is a land of plenty, but it is an impoverished nation when one considers the things that really matter. Because of the national religion of mammon worship (mammon worshipers who mostly consider themselves Christian) we are not very damned likely to ever get universal health care like the civilized world has.

          My best friend's name was Jim Dawson. I knew him since I was a teenager. His employer didn't offer health insurance, and he contracted appendicitis. When his appendix burst he was rushed to the hospital for surgery, and his credit was ruined as he struggled to pay off his medical debt. He knew something was wrong with him, but wasn't about to put his family through the hell they had gone through at the hands of the bill collectors.

          He died of a heart attack in 1992, two weeks short of his 40th birthday. Had health care been available to him he would be alive today.

          My country's method of paying for health care is nothing short of barbaric. I hope Jim's ghost haunts all of you who oppose universal health care.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by moeinvt ( 851793 )
        ". . .the issue is that these folks were simply taking the parts, or the entire body, without the permission of either the deceased or their families . . "

        I'm sure they asked the deceased, and hearing no objection, decided to sell the body parts.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Personally I agree, but it's worth remembering that the term "religious" covers a whole lot of ground. While my own faith has no problem with stripping me for parts, rolling what's left up in a newspaper, and chucking it from the window of a speeding truck, someone else's beliefs may assign much more importance to leaving an intact corpse. Consent and proper procedure is important for this sort of thing.
      • Now I have to change my will.

        Let's see:
        Organ donor card? check.
        Sunday NY times? check.
        1994 jeep cherokee? check.
        road map of my nations capitol with dump sites marked? check.

        All right, I'm ready for the end, when it comes.

        "I'm not affraid of dieing. Ijust don't want to be there when it happens."
    • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:43AM (#22794662)

      I honestly don't get the big deal with this.

      I did RTFA, so the big deal isn't the sale or use of bodies or their parts per se, but the fraudulent and criminal means by which they are obtained.

      One example given was the crematorium owner in California who charged a woman for the cremation of her son. He gave her an urn of furnace scrapings and turned around and sold the parts of the man's body, keeping the unsold inventory in freezers in the attic of the funeral home. That's fraud. One could argue that it doesn't really matter whose cremains you receive, but it's still fraud even if you don't know you're being duped. Actually, it's fraud especially if you don't know you've been duped.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        keeping the unsold inventory in freezers in the attic of the funeral home.

        Sounds unlikely to me: freezing destroys the cells. That's why transplantations are time critical.

        • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:09AM (#22794930)
          There are plenty of uses that aren't transplants -- various medical research, and especially training of new doctors. Working with real cadavers is still important; you can't learn everything from books and you don't want to start on live patients for everything. How much those applications care about freezing is beyond me (I'm not a doctor), but I'm guessing it varies between "not at all" and "somewhat, but not nearly as much as transplants."
          • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:25PM (#22796642) Journal
            "Stiff" by Mary Roach. Goes into extensive detail about just how many uses dead bodies have. A few: forensics (letting them decay and recording what sorts of insects colonize them and when, which gives immense amounts of data to people who are trying to analyze time-of-death, also covered extensively in "A Fly For The Prosecution" by Madison Goff, and other books.
            Safety testing: putting corpses in cars and crashing them gives much better results on skull fractures and such than Buster The Dummy. Likewise, dropping corpses in elevators or off buildings into safety nets, or measuring the protective qualities of bullet-proof jackets. It's hard to get good results using pigs.

            (I saw Mary Roach read from this book one time, and it was creepy, not because of her and the book, but because just about everyone in the audience ended up asking really detailed, scary questions about treatment of dead bodies, since apparently most of them had experience in the subject.)
        • by Miseph ( 979059 )
          Unless the frozen parts weren't organs for transplant. They could have been intended for sale to, say, medical schools, for the purpose of dissections.
        • The frozen parts are sold for medical doctors/students to practice surgery on. Dead cells don't matter when you just want to practice the procedure and get the experience.
      • I read TFA as well and that particular part sparked my interest so I did a bit of googling to see exactly what he got 20 years for. I couldn't find much, but I found another similar article which said he was sentenced for "mutilating bodies" (source []).

        Now that strikes me as a bit odd. These people are already dead. He didn't kill them. So my first question is: does a dead body have rights ? I'm pretty sure it does not. Does it belong to anyone ? This one I don't know. But assuming it belongs to his/her heirs
        • by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:40AM (#22795304)
          Actually, bodies do have rights. We have a lot of emotion tied up in these bags of meat that carry us around. Depending on the jurisdiction and country and what have you there is usually a law or two with names like 'inappropriate disposal of a body' or 'improper treatment of human remains' or, in this case, 'mutilating a dead body'. Mostly the laws get used to stop people form burying their relatives in the back yard or wherever.
      • There's also this [] BBC article that touches on the issue. The problem there was that in falsifying the origins of the bodies, he also circumvented the measures in place to ensure that the parts taken from them were safe, thus endangering anyone who received them.
      • If there's a profit to be made, the money should go to relatives/charity, not some double-dealing shyster.

    • by zwei2stein ( 782480 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:51AM (#22794748) Homepage
      Big deal is medics they are dealing with: if dead person is worth up to 250 000 $, how hard would you really work to keep them alive?

      Hell, some could have idea of killing of healthy (aka, only minor issue like broken leg) patients to get body with top quality organs (people who get organ-preserving damage done to body like broken legs are generally healthy+active life types with bodies in good shape.). And medic can easily get untraceable kill. Embolism is bitch.

      And imagine if common thugs could cash you in too ... you would be walking quater million for them. Some kill for 100$, its quite imaginable them to kill for much, much more.
    • I'm not sure if the others have brought this up or not, but there is also a lack of medical oversight involved that is needed to ensure that the organs are suitable for transfer and that the individual did not have any undiagnosed illnesses.
    • It is a big deal because some sleazy "business" people are being dishonest and making a profit while doing it. If a family wants the body put in the ground, that is where it should go.

      My biggest beef is that the family of the deceased doesn't get any part of the profit. If the body is being used for science and some business dude can make up to $250K, why shouldn't the family get a nice chunk of that? Say half? This would be a good way to help people who don't have life insurance to help out their lo
    • You get your grave for people to remember you, and your organs are put to good use.

      Your organs will be given to rich, unhealthy people to keep them alive for another eighteen months. In addition, doctors will be far less willing to save your life if their hospital can earn more money by selling your liver.

      People who support organ donation always forget that todays organ donation "industry" is fueled by dead Chinese prisoners, poor kidney donors, and yes, people robbing graves. It's funny, I can trace the be

    • by Rolgar ( 556636 )
      Well, in Christianity one of the core beliefs is the physical resurrection of the dead at some point in the future. But, for that to be the case, God is going to have to re-create, re-build, reconstruct the organs of anybody (at least those who are 'saved') whose body was destroyed by disease, burned to ashes, wasted away because of the centuries between the death and resurrection, etc. The body is considered sacred by many of various creeds, because we are our body, but many also see the value of organ d
      • For instance, I am Catholic, so I can really only speak to the Church's teaching. Cremation is only allowed if it's not done as a protest against the resurrection. I think organ donation is allowed without restriction.

        This is a fairly recent Roman Catholic innovation. The Orthodox Church preserves the tradition against cremation, even against embalming.

    • I've often wondered about these people who freeze themselves when they die, hoping to be revised when there is a cure.

      Two thoughts occurred to me in relation to this.

      1: A cure for being dead? Um....

      2: Why, when we can make millions of new people a day through highly enjoyable and natural (if somewhat sticky) methods, would we be wanting to defrost some dead people and try to bring them back? It's not like they'd be needed or anything.
    • Man have you not even seen the bugs bunny version of Frankenstein, where the blithering assistant brings back a brain he found from some guy named
      AB Normal?
  • Niven was right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:29AM (#22794524) Homepage
    Organleggers will exist until we develop proper organ cloning. The moral dilemma over cloning and stem cell research will hamper any progress in this area and allow the organleggers to continue, much like the drug trade has.
    • Re:Niven was right. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:34AM (#22794570) Homepage
      On the other hand, Niven did foresee an end to organlegging with the rise of alloplasty ("gadgets instead of organs"). Of course, in Niven's timeline that only happened in A Gift from Earth (republished in Three Books of Known Space [] IIRC), after hundreds of years of murders for organs, but we're already seeing exciting reports in tech news of progress in artificial parts, so maybe the barbarity of e.g. China's treatment of prisoners will pass fairly soon.
    • Organlegging is a symptom of a culture in which the choice of who to treat lies not with who has a future ahead of them, nor with who will benefit society, but only with how much money you have.

      This will have to change, because there aren't enough young people to service all the old people, so the system will collapse if it continues to run as it has been. But it would be better if we could stop wasting resources on treating old sick people and start using them to treat young people with a future ahead of
      • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:05AM (#22794902) Homepage
        But it would be better if we could stop wasting resources on treating old sick people and start using them to treat young people with a future ahead of them.

        That should be a permanent entry in your medical records.

        • Now that is funny.

          Come to think of it, I should put that in writing and put it in the safe with my daughters nest egg.

          I have no desire to linger on past my time. I know how many chapters there are in my life, and I have no desire to try to cheat the universe. I expect I will be basking in the radiance of my many accomplishments, marveling at what my progeny are doing with their lives and be rather tired of struggling by the time they're ready to start sticking tubes and pins into me, and that's ok with me
  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:29AM (#22794526) Homepage
    In his Gil "The Arm" Hamilton stories (collected in Flatlander ) Larry Niven speculated that once organ transplants were common, the government would end up making everything, even jaywalking, merit the death penalty to insure a good supply of organs. China has already started using organs from executed prisoners, how long before it spreads to India and even the West?
    • by polar red ( 215081 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:31AM (#22794546)
      over my dead body !
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      Well if the prisoner wants to be an organ donor then I don't have any more problem with it than I already have with the death penalty. I happen to be against the death penalty for personal religious reasons.

  • Larry Niven coined the term "organlegger []" to describe individuals who obtained and resold body parts through less than scrupulous means.
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by joaommp ( 685612 )
    "Now, who says I'm worth more alive than dead?"

    It depends... do you know the secret combination to a safe holding multibilion dollar amounts and are susceptible of talking under... preemptive advice?
  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:34AM (#22794572) Journal
    How much is my left little finger worth?

    Don't get the wrong idea, I'm quite attached to it.

    So you'll have to prise it from my cold dead hands (or over my dead body)...

    Oh wait...
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:34AM (#22794576)
    A recent staple of science fiction is the story of people optioning their body parts for money while they're still living (companies pay you based on the value of said parts and the odds that your body will still be intact at death and not crushed in a car accident or something). Personally, I think this is not so unlikely as many science fiction scenarios. After all, about the only thing standing in the way are medical ethics regulations, and when times get tight, you can bet that corruption will put a stop to those.
    • What would minimize corruption in this area is legalizing sales of human body parts. If my estate would benefit from the sale of my body parts after I die, why shouldn't I arrange to have it do so?
      • Because if a person who would benefit from the sale of your dead body was facing financial ruin, it may just be enough of an incentive to kill you or have you killed. Heck, there are people that have been killed over 10's of dollars, or a pair of shoes or even a beer or two. If you are worth more dead than alive, you might just find yourself dead sooner rather than later. It happens all the time to people with a big life insurance policy.

        Imagine if some ghetto/trailer trash could just knock-off a fami
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:35AM (#22794580) Journal

    "The BBC are reporting on a grisly trade lying behind the booming business for replacement body parts in medical procedures.
    According to Colbert, the number one threat to America is BEARS! These biological terrorists need to be stopped before the American Dollar is ruined.... oh wait
  • by MrShaggy ( 683273 ) <chris,anderson&hush,com> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:41AM (#22794636) Journal
    'Thats why I dont sign my doner card. When you get into an accident and the abulance comes, and they see you have that card. Do you honestly think they are there to help you?? Hell no, they are looking for spare parts.' Or even better. knock.knock: Door opens. "Yes, can I help you??" 'Are yu such and such' 'Yes I am'. "We're here for you liver." ;)
  • Quoting the summary:

    Now, who says I'm worth more alive than dead?

    How about this [] very recent article, also from BBC. The crime they describe is blood donations (for cash) from a farm of living people.
    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
      That shouldn't be a crime, it's your blood, and selling a fairly small amount of it won't harm you.
      They don't like the idea of people selling blood, because then they won't be able to continue getting free donations. On the other hand, the number of people giving blood would increase massively if people were paid for it.
  • by seven of five ( 578993 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:42AM (#22794648)
    This happened to Alistair Cooke's body. []
  • As an organ donor, I have to wonder how much those of you who aren't organ donors are to blame for this.

    How much of a market would there be if the organs were available as a result of donation?
    • On a related note, I wonder how many people who do not give away their auto mobiles are to blame for car theft. No need to steal a car if you can legally obtain one for free.
      • "On a related note..."

        Where was that? I didn't see it in your post.

        "I wonder how many people who do not give away their auto mobiles after they die and no longer have any use for them are to blame for car theft. No need to steal a car if you can legally obtain one that has been donated for your use for free."

        I fixed your post to make it more accurately reflect the situation.
        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )
          So.. who donates their car after their dead? Usually it will end up with some relative that already has a car, and that relative will either sell his own or the inherited car. In neither situation is a car donated.

          Besides, due to religious reasons, many people believe they have a use for their bodies after they died. You'll be more likely to get cars donated to stop theft (as if such a thing would work, which was the point of the grandparent) then it is to get people to donate their bodies after death.

    • by faloi ( 738831 )
      There would likely still be a huge market. Even if everyone was forced to donate organs, which isn't such a good idea in my opinion, there would be plenty of reasons why the organs from one particular donor or another can't be used. From horrendous accidents, cancer, the presence of any number of diseases... Even the medications the person was on, or places the person has visited might get them off the list. I can't even donate blood for a couple of years because I visited the Dominican Republic.

      The "a
  • Shhhh..... (Score:3, Funny)

    by cdr_data ( 916869 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:48AM (#22794720)
    PLEASE don't tell my wife!
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:50AM (#22794740)
    Fry: Now that you mention it, I do have trouble breathing underwater sometimes. I'll take the gills.
    Shady organ dealer: Yes, gills. Then, uh, you don't need lungs anymore, is right?
    Fry: Can't imagine why I would.
    Shady organ dealer: Lie down on table. I take lungs now, gills come next week.
  • So how long (Score:3, Informative)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @09:56AM (#22794798)
    ... until we get to Larry Niven's dystopic idea that the demand for "spare parts" will grow so huge that legislatures first order that organs be harvested from all executed felons?

    After that, of course, public objections to the death penalty drop since it's a source of spare parts. Eventually death becomes the standard penalty for any felony.

  • Yup, you're worth a lot of money dead. To everyone but you. Imagine if _you_ had the right to decide to sell your corpse for a profit, the good you could do: You could leave that money to your family, donate it to charities. You could also do wonders to eliminate the organ donor waiting list -- if, presumably, you could directly sell your organs to folks willing to pay for them.
    • I'm not sure that this isn't legal. There is no property in bodies at common law, but you could sell a "chose in action" (technical legal term) granting a third party the right to obtain your corpse after death.

      It's a good idea. With the aging of the baby boomers and looming medical care costs for families, it makes sense.

      • Selling your organs is illegal in the US. You can _donate_ them to whoever you like -- I have relatives who have donated their bodies to science, for instance -- but you can't sell them. Ebay would be a far more interesting and lucrative place if you could.
  • You'd better make sure that we're properly dead before you start ol' Ripbeak!
  • by airship ( 242862 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:05AM (#22794894) Homepage
    Has anyone EVER asserted that Taco was worth more than a quarter of a million? Anyone? Anyone?

    I didn't think so.
  • I'm probably not the only person who has received the "live or die" [] email claiming to come from a hitman. If by the email someone could take a body for $9,000 or less, and then by the story sell it for $250,000, then there is certainly money to be made.
  • People always argue that we shouldn't be able to buy and sell organs because it gives the rich an unfair advantage over the poor when they need an organ transplant - but this viewpoint ignores the fact that being able to pay for organs actually increases the supply of organs. I guarantee you that many, many more people would check the "I want to donate my organs if I die" box if they knew that their surviving family would be gettings some money for it. Likewise, people would be much more likely to allow the
  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @10:22AM (#22795100) Homepage Journal
    As long as my head can be kept alive in a jar....
  • I came across this when noted (and lovable) BBC radio journalist and Masterpiece Theater presenter Alastair Cooke's body bits were stolen after his death: []

    - the bodysnatchers changed his age on his death certificate from 95 to 85 (presumably to bump up his value), and ignored the fact that his cancerous bones would have been useless for transplant. Caveat emptor indeed.
  • They were the ultimate body snatchers of all time.
  • There are some diseases that survive death and transplant screening like HIV and listeria. Several cases of bad cartilage used in knee repairs and plastic surgery. You need to know the source of the material and cause of death.
  • I'm obviously worth more alive than dead. Think about it... I have some 25-30 good years of work left in me. Even if I only made $20,000 a year, that's still a worth of half a million dollars over the next 25 years. If an employer is willing to pay you that for your labor, that must be your worth. Add to that your contributions to society that aren't directly related to your job, and $250,000 seems paltry.
  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:33PM (#22796740)
    Something which is not very well known but probably is an instance of one of the largest violation of human rights and illegal harvesting and sale of human body parts, and which are healthy and normal body parts that are being illegally and unethically removed from the bodies of millions of children every year is circumcision. Foreskins, which are a normal and healthy part of the human body and for which there is no justifiable or medically sound and valid rationale for removing a normal and healthy part of the human body that has no medical diseases whatsoever, are harvested from young children, and then are sold to corporations, including pharmacuetical companies, where they are used to manufacture cosmetics and for testing. SkinMedica is one such product which is made from foreskin fibroblasts, and which has been promoted by Oprah Winfrey, who apparently is aware that a major component of the product is human neonatal foreskins stolen from genitally mutilated boys. Ironically, Oprah's show in the past has decried female circumcision. I suppose from Oprah's point of view, the genital mutilation and destruction of parts of boys anatomy is acceptable, this is only unacceptable when done to girls, since apparently only girls deserve to be protected from demeaning, dehumanising genital mutilations, torture and assault. Apparently girls are entitled to more rights to a whole body than boys are.

    If a person, as an adult, wants to be circumcised, male or female, they are free to make that choices for themselves, with fully informed consent. it should be the right of the person to make their own choices about removals of normal and undiseased parts of their bodies. It is a basic human right to physical integrity, and unless we uphold a medical standard and universal principle which requires an actual medical abnormality to be present on the part to removed from an unconsenting, this right is not being honoured and respected, and as well, we have no standard to define what is an assault. Any clear assault could be made permissable by society at its own whim, even if it is to the detriment of individual rights. Since circumcision cannot be undone and what is taken cannot be gotten back, the decision should be the person whose body it is, since only they will be able to decide what is best for them. Perhaps some men prefer to remain intact for aesthetic reasons or to retain full sensitivity. We should do what gives the individual the most freedom, since all rights and liberties are based in the individual. Parents do not have a right to do anything to their children and their responsibilities are to protect their children from harm. Children are not extensions of their parents bodies and children do have human rights which are seperate from the parents and are considered seperate, individual persons. Removing or destroying a healthy and undiseased part of a childs body is considered child abuse and it is an assault upon the child by definition , circumcision is a removal of a healthy and undiseased part of the childs body. Removals of parts of the body are permenant and cannot be undone later. A person can always change their beliefs later on, but they cannot undo damage to their body if they did not want this. Therefore, removal of normal parts of human anatomy should be deferred to a time when the person is of the age they can make with fully informed consent these decisions for themselves. The foreskin is a normal and healthy part of the human anatomy and has been a part of the anatomy of mammals and their predecessors for over 100 million years. All mammals have foreskins, including both males and females.

    Of course we already know that male or female circumcision is an invalid and wrong genital mutilation of children, since it violates medical ethics. Everyone has a basic human right to a whole body, and to not have parts of their body removed without their consent unless there is a serious, critical, present and current medical condition on that part and where removing it is necessary to treat that medical ab

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