AFCCA Supports the Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act

As you may know, the Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act, which would bring necessary minimum federal standards to the largely unregulated process of whole body donation, has been reintroduced in the 118th Congress. NFDA’s one-pager one the bill is attached.

Read the bill text here:{“search”%3A%5B”HR+4275″%5D}

Many times when talking with Congressional offices, they ask if the State Associations also support the legislation.  NFDA plans to send a profession-wide letter to the sponsors of the Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) – thanking them for introducing this vital bipartisan legislation, and urging them to continue fighting for its passage. All other Congressional offices will be copied on the letter. 

AFCCA, on behalf of its members, has signed on to show our support for this vital legislation.

The body of the letter is below followed by a submission to add your organization as a signatory on the letter.

June 28, 2023

The Honorable Chris Murphy
United States Senate
136 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Gus Bilirakis
U.S. House of Representatives
2306 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Thom Tillis
United States Senate
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Lizzie Fletcher
U.S. House of Representatives
346 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senators Murphy and Tillis and Representatives Bilirakis and Flecther:

The undersigned funeral service associations would like to thank you for introducing the “Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act” (S. 2191/H.R. 4275). Every day, funeral directors care for grieving families across this nation. We care for the living and their loved ones who have died by treating them with the utmost respect and care, and that is why we are strong supporters of this important legislation that protects grieving families and their deceased loved ones.

Each year, thousands of Americans make the generous and important gift of whole body (or anatomical) donation in the hopes of advancing science and curing disease. The body parts obtained are not transplanted into other humans, but are instead used for education, research, or the advancement of medical, dental, or mortuary science, among other medical uses. Researchers, physicians, mortuary science students, and other medical professionals rely on donated human bodies and body parts for training and to develop new medicines, treatments, and surgical and medical devices and instruments.

While there are regulations that govern how the body of an individual may be donated, once a body is donated for research or medical training, there is little federal or state regulation over what happens to it. Few rules mean few consequences when bodies are mistreated. In almost every state, it is legal for anyone, even if they do not have training, to sell the human remains of adults.

This important bi-cameral legislation provides safeguards to ensure that human remains are handled in a manner that preserves the dignity and respects the choices of the donor his or her next-of-kin. The industry has been largely unregulated and sadly many families have been exploited for profit.

Funeral service is supportive of this legislation that requires facilities to register with the Secretary of HHS, which would have the authority to periodically conduct inspections; protects next-of-kin by giving them rights to know exactly how their loved one’s body will be used throughout the entire donation process; establishes chain-of-custody rules to ensure respectful transfer of human bodies for education and research; creates standards for labeling, packing and shipment of human remains, and crafts standards for the final disposition of remains and their return to the donor’s next-of-kin. We applaud you for your efforts to give donors and donor families peace of mind and stand ready to assist you in protecting grieving families.

Thank you again for you for introducing the “Consensual Donation and Research Integrity Act” (S. 2191/H.R. 4275). We look forward to working with you on the passage of this important legislation.