Letters

Covering organ trafficking in the Monitor

Regarding your June 9 article "What is a kidney worth?": I am a living donor, having given my kidney to my niece four years ago. How much was my kidney worth? To Diane, it meant 3 1/2 years during which she taught school through AmeriCorps, attended college, and visited her family on the East Coast for the first time. What was a kidney worth to me? A life.

I would support the tight regulation of organ transplants with financial incentives but I have a better idea. Let's change the presumptive decision upon death from "no donation without family consent" to "donate all organs," unless the deceased left specific and written directives otherwise. Adopting such a policy would greatly increase the organs available for transplants.

Thanks for the story. I'm sure it will do some good.
Rosemary Forrest
Augusta, Ga.

Our small southern Delaware town has recently come together to help provide funding for a liver transplant for one of our recent high school graduates, so your special report was of even more interest to me. Where else could I find a newspaper that delves into a topic with the depth that your newspaper does?
Harriet Davies
Milford, Del.

The cover article "What is a kidney worth?" was the lowest point I have ever seen in 50 years of subscribing to the Monitor. The article dwells for six pages - longer than any article I've ever seen in the Monitor - on diseases, symptoms, suffering, surgery, unprincipled practices, and the apparent certainty of death as the only alternative to organ transplants.

Since its inception, the Monitor has meticulously adhered to a policy of covering items that aren't only of interest to Christian Scientists, and rightly so. At the same time, however, the Monitor was established - as one of the publications of the church founded by Mary Baker Eddy - to "bless all mankind." This article goes to extraordinary lengths detailing the depths to which mankind has sunk in misguided efforts, without suggesting any possible redemption. What has happened to our treasured Monitor?
Janet Gronberg
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Editor's response: We received many calls and e-mails from longtime readers similar to the one above. We treated the kidney-trafficking issue with such depth and detail for several reasons. One is that the legal, moral, and religious problems posed by organ trafficking are likely become much wider spread as medical technology races ahead, demanding further attention from conscientious people. Another is that these issues are not mere abstractions. Their impact falls intensely on individuals, so we sought to convey the fullest sense possible of the moral and emotional frameworks at play.

Preserve the value of fathers, family

Regarding your June 15 article "Court keeps 'under God' in Pledge": The Supreme Court has diminished the value of family by declaring that Michael Newdow cannot speak for his daughter because he is somehow less than a dad. The justices ruled that he does not have the legal authority to speak for her because he does not have sufficient custody of his daughter. Regardless of how one feels about the 1954 insertion, "under God," the Supreme Court certainly sidestepped the issue by pretending that Newdow lacks the legal standing to present his case. Dads are essential in the lives of their children. Let's remember that on Father's Day and every day.
Don Mathis
San Antonio

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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