The Business of Body Parts

They say, “The Lord does not see;
    the God of Jacob takes no notice.” Psalm 94:7~

In 2016, the National Health Service (the socialized medicine bureaucracy of the UK) was accused of encouraging women whose unborn children had terminal illnesses not to abort their babies. Instead, they could carry the children to term and then donate their organs.

Later reports denied that anyone would ever encourage or pressure a mother not to abort for the sake of finding harvestable organs. Even so, 11 newborn babies between 2014 and 2016 became “organ donors.”

Formerly, British law banned the harvesting of newborns’ organs. But that prohibition came into question when someone discovered that “even for adults,” a newborn’s organs can be useful.

On North America’s side of the Atlantic, Canada has been harvesting organs from euthanasia victims for a few years now. Someone dying of a terminal illness or living with a non-terminal illness can pass their organs along by having themselves killed.

Not just people but countries can be of two minds–not realizing an inherent contradiction in their pursuits.

Currently, Canada’s government is considering bills designed to prohibit transplant tourism and protect citizens and foreign nationals from exploitation.

The primary legislative goal is to stop China from harvesting organs from oppressed people due to their status as outsiders, the Falun Gong, Uighurs, Tibetans, Christians, and political detainees. Organ harvesting is a big business in China garnering $1 billion in profits for the government.

Gingrich 360 reports:

“China’s organ transplant industry began to increase dramatically in 2000.  Hundreds of hospitals offered transplants, thousands of transplant surgeons were trained, transplant research was conducted by the military, and the immunosuppressant industry was subsidized by the state.

“While transplant patients in most western countries wait months or even years for an organ transplant, the wait times for a procedure in China have been as short as weeks, days, or even hours.”

So Canada harvests organs from the euthanized while trying to protect the oppressed of another nation from being euthanized to harvest their organs.

In the meantime, many Canadians travel to China to receive transplanted organs quickly.

Perhaps in an effort to keep these Canadians home, the nation expanded its death “service” to include the mentally ill and handicapped.

“It’s a lot cheaper for the government to offer medical aid and dying than to offer the services people with disabilities need to live full lives,” Jewelles Smith, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, said in an interview from B.C.

“John Maher, a psychiatrist from Barrie, Ont., called expanding access to MAID (Medical Aid in Dying) ‘the moral scandal of the century.'”

“He told CTV National News that the upcoming rules that could allow medical assistance in dying solely because of a mental illness don’t take into account that those suffering from severe illness may not be capable of making the best decision for themselves.”

Those who assist people deciding to die would surely encourage them to donate their organs.

A minor distinction exists between encouraging “donation” and taking advantage of someone who’s finding it hard to understand other possibilities.

While the possibilities may seem limited for someone with emotional and mental challenges, the possibilities to take advantage of people are many.

Back in the UK, researchers have discovered that they can safely harvest organs from those who’ve died of COVID. Organ recipients do not contract COVID from the transplanted part if the virus is absent in that organ (as is common in organs unrelated to the illness). Donor parts qualify if the deceased patient tested positive for COVID more than 20 days earlier.

How nice that, if someone dies in a pandemic, their organs can still be useful. That’s true only if medical was uniformly good and not based on a premise that people considered limited receive limited care.

From the UK: “more than twice as many individuals with learning disabilities died during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic than in the same period last year. “

“‘Do not attempt resuscitation’ (DNAR) notices were added en masse to the medical records of elderly and disabled people in care homes, without proper consultation with either the individuals or their families:

“* At the end of March, three care facilities for adults with learning disabilities in Somerset, Derbyshire and East Sussex were contacted by General Practitioners (GPs) to inform them that all the adults they support should be deemed DNAR.”

Sadly, care rationing is not limited to the UK. Several states in the US also set up rationing plans during COVID that proposed to deny care to those with disabilities.

It’s not a giant leap from determining who doesn’t deserve good care to seeing people who have challenges as spare parts.

One UK analyst proposes that the “normalisation of health care rationing and the wholesale abandonment of the most vulnerable in society is only possible because the NHS has been systematically starved of funds for decades.”

We miss the most important point if we blame a lack of money rather than a lack of respect for human life for the deaths of the defenseless and dependent.

All discussions about unborn life and life limited by illness or disability center on one question—Who are we? Are we sacred souls made in the image of a great God who loves all, weak or strong?

Or are we just a mixture of electrical synapses and chemical reactions, a sometimes useful collection of spare parts?

Answering the last question in the affirmative means there won’t be a stopping point along the way to the continually increasing exploitation of people as human products.

More questions to lead us forward:

Does the one who shaped the ear not hear?
    The one who formed the eye not see?
Does the one who guides nations not rebuke?
    The one who teaches man not have knowledge? Psalm 94:9-10~

We will all stand before the one who shapes, forms, guides, rebukes, and teaches.

A rebuke stands at the gates. And one more question will follow.

What did you do when you knew this atrocity was happening?

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

From Tiananmen to Hong Kong

It was a highlight of my career as a news reporter, interviewing Shengde Lian, one of the organizers of the Tiananmen Square protests. Now it seems that piece of history from 1989 is repeating itself in Hong Kong today.

Inspired by student protests in America and South Korea they had seen on television, Chinese college students gathered in Beijing at Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu [Yaobang], their advocate for democratic reform. The marathon sit-in lasted seven weeks.

[In Tiananmen Square, protesters crafted a goddess of liberty akin to our statue in New York’s Harbor. ]

Demonstrations weren’t unheard of in China, but the international broadcast of such demonstrations was. The international press was in town to cover [Mikhail] Gorbachev’s visit to Beijing. Because of his attempts to reform communism, the protesting Chinese students considered him a champion of democracy.[i]

The presence of the international press made possible our knowledge of the Tiananmen Square massacre. [There were other crackdowns at the same time across the country.] In front of the international media, the Chinese government, having lost face in the weeks’ long standoff, sent the army into the square, killing thousands and capturing surviving protesters. [Lian served 18 months in a laogai–the Chinese equivalent of a Soviet gulag.]

. . . The Chinese students . . . did not get the change they had hoped for, but change is what China would see. The Beijing massacre and imprisonment of surviving demonstrators prompted Chinese youth, especially students, to look for a new form of freedom. Many found that freedom in Christ.

Why did young Chinese college students suddenly develop a passionate interest in the Christian faith? David Aikman writes that one “suggestion was that China’s traditional Confucian view of man as inherently good was shattered under the tanks that rolled onto the center of Beijing.”[ii]

The Chinese students had put their faith in their government, and their government turned on them and attacked them. Now they would look elsewhere for someone to trust. Within the next ten to fifteen years, China is on track to become the most Christian nation in the world.[iii]

Hong Kong is very different from Beijing. Crosses hang on the exteriors of hospitals to signify their connection to churches. When the British left Hong Kong to the Chinese in 1997, they left behind the stamp of a Christianized culture. They left behind an understanding of basic freedom.

After the 1997 takeover, China discovered in Hong Kong what free enterprise could do. The “communist” government adopted capitalistic practices–with the military owning some companies.

The Mainland economy grew in leaps and bounds. China was building a middle class (without a minimum wage and with a flat tax, by the way, a graduated income tax having been foundational to Marxism.)

In 1997, the communist government in Beijing promised Hong Kong citizens “one country, two systems.”

Kayla Wong and Emily Lo provide an account of a Chinese woman waving the British Union Jack. This woman is not calling for a return to British colonialism but to the practices that helped Hong Kong prosper under the British.

She says Hong Kong has a 20-year history of government’s unkept promises.

Protesters also dare to wave the US flag. And while we are divided over gun control, they are asking for a Second Amendment.

Will Christianity see a resurgence in Hong Kong as is happening in the mainland? That remains to be seen.

China has not sent troops and tanks into Hong Kong–yet–although the military is amassing on the border and engaging in exercises designed to intimidate. All the while, the Hong Kong police show no mercy to the protesters.

Oppression suppresses free speech. An already eroded promise threatens the freedom that remains.

Perhaps China and Hong Kong are at a crossroads. Perhaps the events that unfold in Hong Kong in the coming days will determine whether there is freedom or continued oppression.

Only one King is faithful to His word. Pray for Hong Kongers and Chinese to find that King. Pray for peace and freedom found only in Him.

*****

This post is partially excerpted from Restoring the Shattered.

[i]Nicholas D. Kristof and Special to the New York Times, “China’s Hero of Democracy: Gorbachev,” archives 1989, accessed May 14, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/1989/05/14/world/china-s-hero-of-democracy-gorbachev.html.

[ii] David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003), 171.

[iii] Tom Phillips, “China on Course to Become ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’ within 15 Years,” London Telegraph, April 19, 2014, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Population Control Worked–Or Did It?

Japan figured it out a few years ago. Low birth rates lead to a smaller population that grows older without replacement workers.

In that nation, 86 percent of employers struggle to fill jobs. The situation forebodes what one reporter calls a “demographic timebomb.” The government has been offering birth incentives for years, including a lump sum payment upon birth, tuition breaks, and yearly cash payments–with little positive result.

France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and other countries also offer incentives in hopes of increasing their birthrates–also without much to show for the effort.

And now China joins the chorus, promising to end what was once a one-child, now a two-child policy–“to slow the pace of aging in the country and reconcile its shortage of workers.”

Yet despite the change in policy from one-child to two, China’s birthrate did not increase. Instead, it fell. And the disproportionate number of males to females (120 to 100 throughout the country, but 143 to 100 in some rural areas) means fewer men are able to marry further reducing the birthrate.

Lower birth rates are to be expected in any nation moving from a rural to an urban culture. Couples naturally limit family sizes in a city–without the government forcing them to do so. When people move from the country to the city, their view of children changes.

In rural areas, families need more children to work. In urban areas, children don’t naturally become part of the family’s workforce. In a city setting, children are no longer part of the team pushing toward a goal for the benefit of all.

Often, even in the Christian community, children are something to be avoided and prevented instead of welcomed.

I felt this attitude when I carried my third, fourth, and fifth children. It wasn’t socially acceptable in some circles to have a big family. It still isn’t today.

Japan, China, and European countries are reaping the results of the city-dwellers’ perspective of children. That, combined with four decades of alarmism about over-population brings us to today.

Now parents in developed countries are enjoying the ease of having fewer children. (link) (link) (link) including America where the fertility rate is now below replacement level.

As the world adds one billion people every eleven years, Eastern culture is shifting and Western culture and its Christian influence are dying.

The proverbial toothpaste has come out of the tube.

And in some places in the world, there are not enough people left to put it back in.

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Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No Empty Nest Here

I was waiting at a restaurant so popular you often have to stand in line to get a table. She waited behind me. The mother of older teens who had adopted one more.
She spoke to me, perhaps not realizing how profound she was being.
“Just because you’re older, doesn’t mean you’re done parenting.”
We’d had three exchange students by then, but all had come when we had one or two kids still at home.
When I was standing at the restaurant, we were empty nesters. But life can change with one spoken sentence. So my life was changed. Continue reading “No Empty Nest Here”

When Choice Isn't Choice

I was volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) years ago when the couple walked in. They were young, but he was older than she was. He was clearly “of age.” She was clearly not.
Our policy was to talk to the woman alone. To tell her whether she was pregnant where she could express herself freely, where she would not be under the influence or power of someone else.
This man refused to let us tell her anything. He just wanted to know. Was she pregnant? When he understood that he would not receive the information himself, he said, “I’ll just take her to Pittsburgh.”
To Pittsburgh, for an abortion.
She had not spoken a word. They left. Continue reading “When Choice Isn't Choice”

Cookies, Tea, China, and the Cross

I was going through the college cafeteria line to buy a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of tea after my morning class. Looking forward to a few quiet moments before I headed to my job, I had a magazine in hand opened to an article about creation. Behind me in line was a professor. As I set the magazine down to retrieve my cookie, a sentence about God having formed the world caught his eye.
No quiet moment now. He asked me about the article, then followed me to my table. He stood as I sat. Continue reading “Cookies, Tea, China, and the Cross”