BILL NUMBER: S2087
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to increasing
penalties for unlawful dissection, procurement, and sale of human
tissue, organs or body parts
PURPOSE OF BILL :
To increase penalties for unlawfully dissecting, stealing, or
receiving a dead human body or any tissue, organ or part thereof, or
opening a grave with the intent of removing the body or any tissue,
organ or part thereof for the purpose of selling it.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Section 1 amends the Public Health Law to increase the penalty from a
misdemeanor to a class E felony for unlawfully dissecting a human
Section 2 amends the Public Health Law to increase the penalty to a
class D felony for stealing a dead human body or any tissue, organ or
part thereof, from a grave, vault or other place with the intent to
sell, dissect or to procure a reward for the return.
Section 3 amends the Public Health Law to increase the penalty from a
misdemeanor to a class E felony for unlawfully receiving or purchasing
a stolen human body, or any part thereof.
Section 4 amends the Public Health Law to increase the penalty from a
class E to a class D felony for unlawfully opening a grave or other
place of interment, with the intent to remove a dead human body or any
tissue, organ or part thereof, for the purpose of selling or demanding
money for the same, or for the purpose of dissection, or with intent
to steal or remove the coffin or anything attached thereto.
Section 5 provides that the Commissioner of Health, in consultation
with the transplant council, shall promulgate regulations to increase
monitoring and enforcement of the provisions in this bill.
In 2005, an investigation began in Brooklyn, New York into the illegal
harvesting of bones, tissue and organs from more than 1,000 bodies,
which were then sold by Biomedical Tissue Services Ltd. to processing
companies to be used in transplants, therapies and research, earning
this company a profit of roughly $4.6 million in revenue. No
precautions were taken to ensure that these transplants were free of
disease, and thus, numerous recipients of these donations are now at
risk for contracting very serious health problems as a result, not to
mention the emotional impact their actions have had on the recipients
and families of the deceased whose bodies were ravaged for their
organs, tissues, and bones.
Biomedical Tissue Services was shut down in Fall 2005 by the Federal
Drug Administration after the details of their actions were disclosed
by a New York newspaper.
The men who ran the company, as well as several employees of funeral
parlors who were involved in the transactions, were indicted, and face
a maximum 25-year prison term if convicted.
This legislation is necessary in the wake of this appalling discovery,
in order to ensure that individuals who choose to do such horrific
things are properly punished. Additionally, this bill will provide the
New York State Commissioner of Health with the tools they need to work
effectively with the transplant council in order to ensure that crimes
such as those discovered in Brooklyn do not occur in the future.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2006 Referred to Rules, 2007: S.2655
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
EFFECTIVE DATE :
First of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have
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