Bill creates registration process for those handling body parts

AUGUSTA — You may think you know where your soul is going when you die, but what happens to your body is far less certain, especially if you die in Maine.

State Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston.

That's why state Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, introduced legislation this week that would require those handling bodies and body parts, either for medical research or organ donation, to be registered with the state.

Maine law is lax when it comes to documenting what happens to a person's remains after death, making the deceased and their families vulnerable to the possibility that final wishes won't be carried out fully, or worse, that someone will make a profit from the sale or transfer of a body, body parts, tissue or organs.

Craven's bill — LD 123 — requires those handling body parts, either for medical research or donation, to be registered with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. The bill also requires more detailed documentation of which body parts go where, in an effort to ensure donors aren't being disrespected in death.

"This would keep all of the person's remaining parts together and create some kind of integrity, and people would be able to know who handled or managed the parts," Craven said.

The legislation is modeled after a similar law on the books in New Jersey, Craven said.

The issue was brought to her attention by Dr. Conrad Wurtz, a retired psychologist and a board member for the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maine.

Wurtz said Wednesday that he was made aware of the issue by the Funeral Consumers Alliance national board. The national group alerted him to the fact that Maine did not have a very good system for tracking what happens to a person's body parts after death. 

"My understanding is there is a trafficking problem in the nation around the transfer of body parts from a person who has died to a laboratory or to a physician for transplant or something of that nature," Wurtz said. "And that goes on without knowledge or approval of the next of kin of the person who died."

Wurtz said the problem resembles a black market for body parts.

"That's what it is, essentially, some parts have been removed without notification of next of kin and the person who removes them and sends them on to another without registration may be charging exorbitant fees for that," Wurtz said.

The bill's next stop is the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, of which Craven is the Senate chairwoman.

Craven said one of the primary goals is to make sure body parts that are used for research are not "scattered" and are kept together for final disposal.

The measure includes fines for those who violate the registration process or remove organs or other parts from a dead person without the proper documentation.

Craven said she's heard some opposition to the measure from the New England Organ Bank. It is concerned that the bill, if it becomes law, would discourage people from becoming organ donors.

"They don't want any more rules or regulations that are going to make people worry about whether to donate," Craven said. "I thought, 'Well, I would prefer to know that my body parts are taken care of properly, than not know.'"

Attempts to reach the organ bank's Boston offices for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday.

John Martins, spokesman for Maine DHHS, said staffers were reviewing the bill but were not yet in a position to offer comment on whether it was needed.

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Steve  Dosh's picture

Bill creates registration process for those handling body parts

Thank you bill , 13.01.31 13:13 hst

People used to get stoned in Guatemala for supposedly stealing body parts . The " Chapin " ( Guatemaltecos ; Mayans , Toltecs , Aztecs , indigenous , other native americans ) seriously believed that kids were adopted , sent to the States , and chopped up for their vital organs . You can not make his up . So , they'd stone well meaning Christian mom & pop organization do - gooders to death
At the time ( 1 9 9 0 ) i cataloged > 6 0 0 organizations like that
i have some stories i could tell
Guns are real popular they'ya too in those ' macho ' cultures . You'd see ppl shot and dumped by the side of the road . i only got shot at once ? They missed • 
You think education is expensive , Republicans ?
Try ignorance & fear put together • /s Steve hth ?

Jeff Johnson's picture


I'd think that our representatives would be more concerned with balancing state budgets, and lowering spending than tracking body parts.


"disrespect" is not a verb.

"disrespect" is not a verb.


It's listed in dictionaries

It's listed in dictionaries because it is often used colloquially, but it is incorrect. Check out rules of grammar.

 's picture

Thanks for setting me

Thanks for setting me straight on that. I was obviously looking at the wrong dictionaries. Oh well, live and learn...

 's picture

I hate to disagree, but just

I hate to disagree, but just for the record, "disrespect" can and is used as a verb. Check out its definition.


Bob, see my reply above yours

Bob, see my reply above yours

Steve  Dosh's picture

. . Bob , We don't hate to

. . Bob , We don't hate to disagree . Pure semantics here ( help us out Pattie Reeves or ed. )
You are wrong . She is correct ?  It is not a word known to speakers of the King's English or Webster ® 
Former SECTSTATE Alexander Haig ( " I am in charge here " ) used to make up words , too , like " operationalize ." ref : His speeches in this role in particular led to the coining of the neologism "Haigspeak", described in a dictionary of neologisms as "Language characterized by pompous obscurity resulting from redundancy, the semantically strained use of words, and verbosity",[16] leading ambassador Nicko Henderson to offer a prize for the best rendering of the Gettysburg address in Haigspeak.[17] h t h ? Steve , a rather fluent speaker of > 5 languages ( not including English :)

Steve  Dosh's picture

l o l - It's a word but not a

l o l - It's a word but not a verb ; adverb possibly . Gee , fonix shure is phun • Nickle knowledge , too <- not an endorsement <- *<;-Q~

 's picture

This is a problem worldwide.

I commend Rep. Craven for submitting this bill. I hope the New England Organ Bank can over come its problem. I would not donate organs unless this law or one very close to it were in place and vigorously enforced.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Jon , † y v m • My Hawai'i

Jon , † y v m • My Hawai'i drivers licence ( license ) has " Organ Dnor " written on it in B I G R E D letters :) /s, Steve

Steve  Dosh's picture

rotƒlmƒao again -- Sorry,

rotƒlmƒao again -- Sorry, something went wrong.
We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.
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guys : even DONOR !

RONALD RIML's picture

You can't get your "Body Parts" at just any Junk Yard.......

Steve  Dosh's picture

Ron , 2 pm local HAhahHAHah

Ron , 2 pm local
HAhahHAHah ! Let's continue on this ~ thread ~
" If i only had a brain "
b t w - the local sign here reads , " Lava viewing 3 pm - 9 pm ."
Q : How do they get it to stop ¿
Up they'ya in Maine , " Deer Crossing "
Q: How do you guys get the deer to cross at the signs ?
We have mongeese here . Nuisances . Varmits .The Hawai'ian call 'em , " squirrels ."
Q: So is the plural of moose . . ... ?
/s, Steve , HI :D


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