Thursday, December 22, 2011

Selling Bone Marrow

On December 1, 2011, in Flynn v. Holder, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the ban on selling “bone marrow” that is part of the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984 does not encompass “peripheral blood stem cells” obtained through apheresis. This ruling means that the sale of blood stem cells for transplantation will now be permitted. The court based its holding solely on statutory interpretation of NOTA, not the plaintiffs' more radical claim that the prohibition on selling bone marrow violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the federal and state governments from denying any person the equal protection of the law. For those seeking to establish a constitutional right to buy and sell body parts in the United States, this case was a loss, but for those narrowly focused on blood stem cells obtained through apheresis, the decision legally sanctions a commercial market (read more).

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