John Bellocchio, a resident of Oakland, New Jersey, is demanding the federal government for the right to sell his own organs, challenging a US law that prohibits it.
Bellocchio, 37, filed the lawsuit against United States Attorney General Merrick Garland in federal court in Manhattan. He alleges in the lawsuit that he struggled financially and sought to sell some of his organs, perhaps a kidney, only to find out that it is illegal to make money off of his body parts.
He is about a career academic who now owns a business that helps connect people with service dogs. He argues that the law violates his constitutional right to freedom of contract by determining what can be done with his personal property or, more specifically, with his own body.
"The reality is that on average, there are 113,000 people each year on the waiting list for a new kidney, the vast majority of whom will die before having a chance to move near the top of the list," Bellocchio told the New York Post. "If there was an opportunity to be able to help someone in need while helping me, I could do it."
Bellocchio argues that, for example, kidney transplants are low-risk procedures, and the law allows you to donate an organ but not sell it. “Altruistic givers are praised for their selflessness. Its vital role in saving lives is undeniable, ”the court documents say. "However, the need outweighs the supply, and there is no valid constitutional or public policy justification why one should not be able to receive a profit from such a transaction."
His lawsuit also states that "the buying and selling of organs from human cadavers is permitted for research purposes." And people can legally sell blood plasma, eggs, sperm, and in some states (like New York), they can even "rent a uterus."
Bellocchio says his proposal could even help eliminate the black market for body parts. So he asks a judge to declare the law unconstitutional and allow him and others to sell their organs without being criminally charged.
His attorney, Matthew Haicken, said in a statement: “We are suing for the right to sell an organ. If John (Bellocchio) ever had the chance, he should be legally free to sell his kidney. "
“I think the current law is unconstitutional. People should have the right to do whatever they want with their bodies, ”attorney Haicken insisted. A spokesman for the Manhattan US Attorney declined to comment.
How the crisis is affecting the population
According to the Economic Policy Institute, 25.7 million workers in the US remain officially unemployed, otherwise out of work due to the pandemic, or have experienced a reduction in work hours or pay. Hispanic and young people are still experiencing high levels of unemployment. The numbers of long-term unemployed are rising.
The rise in the number of unemployed workers due to COVID-19 is substantially greater than the increase due to the Great Recession, when the number of unemployed increased by 8.8 million from 2007 to the beginning of 2010.
According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data, the Great Recession, which officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, pushed the unemployment rate to a peak of 10.6% in January 2010, considerably less than the rate currently.