MKs to oppose Chinese death row transplants [p. 4]

The Knesset's Work and Welfare Committee will hold an urgent meeting Monday following a report that 90 percent of organs used for transplants in China are taken from death row inmates without their consent. The report, which appeared in the medical journal Harefua last week, prompted MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) and Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) to schedule the session. Hundreds of Israelis travel to China each year to undergo transplant surgery, many of them helped by their insurance companies, which often subsidize the flight, said Gal-On. "For Israelis to be taking part in this kind of behavior, and for insurance companies to be giving them a helping hand, is unacceptable," she said. "It's a disgrace to our country." Gal-On said the lawmakers would ask health insurers to stop subsidizing the trips. "Clearly, we hope that on a local level the Chinese do what they can to stop this practice, but in Israel we can make it more difficult for people to support this kind of behavior," she said. Israel has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the world. There are fewer than 10 donors per million people each year, compared to Europe and the United States, where there are 15-30 donors per million people annually.