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Celebrate Sarah Murnaghan’s Life; Demand an End to Government Death Panels

The little girl who swore she was “never going to quit, never, never,” now has a fighting chance to live.

Ten-year-old Sarah Murnaghan previously had been put on the bottom of the list to receive an adult lung (the only type likely to become available) because the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees transplantations, ruled that only patients twelve or older may join the adult list.

However, as Fox News reports, “U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson ruled June 5 that Sarah and eleven-year-old Javier Acosta, of New York City, should be eligible for adult lungs.” Yesterday Sarah received a lung transplant and reportedly is doing well. (I’ve seen no update about Javier.)

No doubt everyone who has heard of Sarah’s story is enormously relieved about the good news and is cheering Sarah on to recovery and a better, longer life.

But we should also pause and look at the wider issue at hand—the regulatory regime that almost deprived Sarah of her fighting chance to live and that does deprive many other people of their fighting chance every day.

Sarah’s story highlights several treacherous facts, including: (1) In the United States, the system of organ transplantation is fundamentally under the control of the federal government; (2) government agents, whether bureaucrats or judges, determine who gets organs and who does not; (3) these agents serve as de facto “death panels”; and (4) government severely restricts the supply of organs by banning financial compensation for them, thereby sentencing many patients to death.

For the sake of the countless other patients in desperate need of an organ transplant—patients who are every bit as real and as desiring to live as Sarah—we should demand an end to the government’s policies of death. We should demand that the government protect the rights of individuals to donate organs as they see fit, whether charitably or for compensation (for themselves or their estates). It is a matter of the right to life.

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