Who owns your body?
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 95 19:53:01 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Who owns your body?
From: WhiteBoard News for January 27, 1995
The state's morticians, following a dead poet's request that his skin be
used to cover a book of poems, think Oregon needs to draw some boundaries
on courteous treatment of a human corpse.
That has resulted in one of the stranger bills before the state Legislature.
Legislation pending in the House Judiciary Committee would give the State
Mortuary and Cemetery Board the authority to set standards regarding the
"offensive treatment of a dead human body."
The mortuary board asked for that authority after Donal Russell willed that
he be skinned and that his skin be used to bind his poetry. Russell's widow
wanted to abide by her husband's wishes.
Oregon morticians balked but found they had no clear authority to refuse.
"I don't think the society we live in accepts that dead human bodies are
going to be used to make items," said Lucinda Potter, executive director of
the state mortuary board.
Although state laws against corpse abuse might preclude skinning a corpse,
it wasn't clear they applied to Russell, since he asked for it, Potter said.
"That's very different from skinning someone who didn't request it."
[What do you want to bet the state's morticians are using this propriety
argument to make sure no one interferes with their profit from each dead body?
Don't we already have laws that require things like buying coffins for bodies
that are going to be cremated? What a ghoulish bunch... -psl]
© 1995 Peter Langston