When you get to the bottom of the issue of organ donation, there are two main arguments used against pro-lifers in their concerns about the practice: dying patients don’t need organs anyway and improving another person’s life is a truly pro-life position. Neither argument holds any water.

Regarding the first argument, the moral principle is simple: it is never permissible to purposely kill someone. There is much confusion over the taking of organs for the purpose of transplants, but the fact is that organs must be taken from people who are still alive. Once the heart stops beating, organs begin to deteriorate and transplantation is no longer viable. A patient’s death can be hastened by the act of doctors removing vital organs.

On the surface, it would seem the argument that donating organs so others can live healthier lives is a truly pro-life position would have some merit. But this line of thinking is also flawed. It makes assumptions that offend the idea that life is sacred.

It assumes lives are only worth living if one is physically healthy. The survival of the fittest thus becomes not a biological fact, but a moral principle. The donor is no longer valued, because he or she is incapacitated, while the recipient is deemed worthy because he or she has the prospect of living a “full life.” But all life has value, because human beings are created in the image of God. Each life is unique and all are worthy of respect and love.

Harvesting organs from the incapacitated represents the abandonment of hope and robs our society of the opportunity to care – and love – those who need it most.

Instead of life being a mystery and a precious gift, it becomes a commodity, good only for the benefit it might provide to others.

This is not pro-life. The trade in unethically acquired body parts is diabolical and cynical.

It must be opposed.