One death row inmate is lobbying for the right to donate his organs. Image: Flickr / abardwell / CC BY-SA

Christian Longo is a 37-year old convicted murderer on death row in Oregon. Longo is also the founder of the organization Gifts of Anatomical Value from Everyone. Despite being turned down by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, Longo is lobbying for permission to donate his organs after the state executes him.

Longo lobbying for organ donation

Christian Longo, who has been sentenced to death by the state of Oregon, has offered the state a bargain. Longo promises to drop all possible appeals to his sentence if the state will let him donate his organs. Longo claims that he has offered this deal because he “wants to do more to take responsibility” for killing his wife and three children. Longo says that if the state does not grant his request, he will continue to exhaust all possible appeals.

The problem with inmate organ donation

The state of Oregon has completely and directly refused Longo’s request to donate his organs. The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations has said it does  not support Longo’s request and that the principle of taking organ donations from prisoners is “morally reprehensible.” Medical ethicists have also come out against the practice because accepting organs from prisoners would open up a door that could be very easily abused. Prisoners are, by definition, not free. That means that prisoners could be coerced or forced, directly or indirectly, into donating their organs. The Association bans taking organs from executed inmates.

The problem of organ transplants

Medical ethicists and transplant organizations throughout the country have said they simply will not accept organ donations from prisoners. Organ transplant patients, however, are often of a very different opinion. There are more than 110,000 patients on the organ transplant list and more than 768 in Oregon alone. In China, more than two-thirds of donated organs come from prisoners on death row, which human rights groups are, to put it mildly, uncomfortable with. Longo claims that organ transplants from prisoners are “just practical,” but many experts disagree.


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