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Push to harvest organs of botched abortion victim thwarted justice, pro-life group alleges

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CLEVELAND, Ohio, April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – As reports of botched abortions continually surface in the news, a disturbing intersection of this horror with the specter of businesses profiting from human remains is getting a new look.

A new report from Operation Rescue says that the family of failed abortion victim Lakisha Wilson was pressured for her organs to be harvested as she lay on life support, their refusal to consent overridden, and that an autopsy hindered by the organ harvesting left questions surrounding the suspicious circumstance of their daughter’s death unanswered.

Wilson, a 22-year old African-American Ohio woman, suffered cardiac arrest in March 2014 after a second trimester abortion at Preterm abortion facility in Cleveland. She was transported to Case University Medical Center, placed on life support and pronounced dead seven days later.

Operation Rescue says a profit motive exists for organ procurement companies to disregard the unique circumstances surrounding abortion-related deaths, and when this motive hampers an investigation, possibly giving a suspicious abortionist a pass, likely endangering other patients, it creates a serious moral conflict.

Especially disturbing, is the question that the higher demand for organs of African Americans could also come into play.

“There appears to be good money in the organ procurement business,” Operation Rescue president Troy Newman stated in the report. “Combine a case with high-demand organs with financial incentives, and it looks like we have a recipe for high-pressure tactics to obtain consent for organ donation that include ignoring a family’s wishes and the need for a thorough investigation into a suspicious death.”

African Americans are predisposed to diabetes and high blood pressure, the report says, making them more prone to organ failure. While organs are not supposed to be matched to donors based on race, certain pertinent blood type characteristics and tissue markers shared more frequently between people of the same racial make-up do help determine transplant compatibility.

African Americans represent about 30% of all organ recipients in America, making them the largest minority population in need of organs for transplant. At the same time, they comprise only about 18% of all organ donors, resulting in a substantial shortage of organs compatible for transplant for individuals of African American heritage.

This means, according to the report, that as a young, healthy African American woman who had died due to a lack of oxygen to the brain, Wilson’s organs would have been in high demand.

Wilson was determined to be brain dead somewhere between her treatment at the abortion facility and her arrival at the hospital, where, the Operation Rescue report says, the organ procurement organization Lifebanc, a non-profit organization that takes in about $25 million each year according the company’s 990 tax report from 2013, was ready to look at her for possible organ harvesting.

Wilson’s family was approached about organ donation not long after getting to the hospital to see their daughter, reportedly by a representative from the abortion facility. With questions on their daughter’s death unresolved, they refused.

Lifebanc also approached the family, and her father expressly refused, his written statement part of her records:

March 27, 2014. Life banc [sic] my daughter Lakisha Wilson died under suspicious circumstances. At this time the Cuyahoga County Coroner is investigating the cause of died [sic]. I adamantly refuse to sign papers giving my consent for organ donation. Life banc [sic] personnel are strongly aware of my concerns.

Because Wilson had given permission on her driver’s license to be an organ donor, the organ procurement company had legal grounds to harvest her organs.

The family’s concern and refusal were disregarded, and the hospital performed additional testing on Lakisha Wilson to be certain her organs were free of disease and in good condition. Then the near totality of her basic internal organs and their connective tissue were removed.  

Newman decried the disrespect shown Wilson’s family, as well as to her body.

“This complete disregard for the wishes of the family or consideration for the circumstances of Wilson’s death make Lifebanc’s actions troubling,” he said. “Wilson was kept on life support for days — not to treat her, but for the sole purpose of keeping her organs viable for harvesting and transplant.”

The coroner concluded that Wilson’s cause of death, cardiac arrest, is a known complication of “therapeutic abortion,” and therefore “did not indicate medical malpractice.”

But, Operation Rescue says, his conclusion was based upon insufficient data, leaving unaddressed the fact that Wilson hemorrhaged in the first place at the abortion facility, and why Preterm abortionist Lisa Perriera, who has gone on to have other abortion clients rushed to the hospital, waited 30 minutes after Wilson stopped breathing to call 911.

Other women suffering abortion-related deaths have also been targeted, according to Operation Rescue, and while nothing has suggested pregnant women are being intentionally killed for their organs, the connection between botched abortions and organ harvesting raises some serious questions.

“Understanding why healthy women are dying at abortion clinics and identifying incompetent abortionists can also save lives,” Newman said. “The risk of further abortion deaths should outweigh an organ procurement company’s goal of organ harvesting and the financial remuneration that accompanies it. What happened to Lakisha Wilson was wrong, and we cannot allow it to happen again to someone else.”

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