(NewsNation) – In June, Ramiro Gonzales, a Texas death row inmate, asked the state for a 30-day reprieve so he could donate a kidney.
Gonzales is convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a young woman in 2001. However, Gonzales has a rare blood type, which makes a potential donation especially valuable.
At first, Texas said no. But weeks later — just two days before Gonzales was executed — the state appeals court granted a stay on an issue unrelated to his trial.
Today, the kidney donation debate is heating up again.
Judy Frith, a potential kidney recipient, told NewsNation’s “Banfield” on Thursday that the wait for a kidney with her and the inmate’s blood type could be up to six years. The wait for other types of kidney is three to four years.
“It’s very rare to find someone who wants to donate live in the first place. It’s very brave. I think it would be a shame if Mr. Gonzales wanted to do that, and he’s not allowed to,” Frith said.
Frith added that if she can get the new kidney, she will finally be able to take her grandchildren camping and swimming.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 13 people die every day while waiting for life-saving kidney transplants, but some say the ethics of prisoner organ donation are tricky.
Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, noted on “Banfield” that “Mr. Gonzales meets all of the requirements to be a donor under Texas policy. So it’s more of a question of intransigence of the state than real practical problems.
Meanwhile, some people believe that allowing death row inmates to donate their kidneys is exploiting prisoners. Michael Zoosman, the founder of “L’Chaim!” Jews Against the Death Penalty,” who worked with Gonzales, said that was not the case here.
“Abolish the death penalty, and you will find that these people are sincere and still want to do it. Ramiro still wants to donate his kidney, even though he doesn’t have an execution date over his head. I don’t think that’s exploitation. I believe it comes from the heart with a sincere desire to work things out with his God,” Zoosman said on “Banfield.”