Organ Transplants

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The Watchtower, November 15, 1967, p. 702

"Humans were allowed by God to eat animal flesh and to sustain their human lives by taking the lives of animals, though they were not permitted to eat blood. Did this include eating human flesh, sustaining one's life by means of the body or part of the body of another human, alive or dead? No! That would be cannibalism, a practice abhorrent to all civilized peopleÉWhen there is a diseased or defective organ, the usual way health is restored is by taking in nutrients. The body uses food eaten to repair or heal the organ, gradually replacing the cells. When men of science conclude that this normal process will no longer work and they suggest removing the organ and replacing it directly with an organ from another human, this is simply a shortcut. Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic."

Awake!, June 8, 1968, p. 21

"There are those, such as Christian witnesses of Jehovah, who consider all transplants between humans as cannibalism"

The Watchtower, Mar. 15, 1980, p. 31

"Regarding the transplantation of human tissue or bone from one human to another, this is a matter for conscientious decision by each one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Some Christians might feel that taking into their bodies any tissue or body part from another human is cannibalisticÉOther sincere Christians today may feel that the Bible does not definitely rule out medical transplants of human organs. They may reason that in some cases the human material is not expected to become a permanent part of the recipient's body. Body cells are said to be replaced about every seven years, and this would be true of any human body parts that would be transplanted. It may be argued, too, that organ transplants are different from cannibalism since the 'donor' is not killed to supply foodÉ While the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue."

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