New Texas Law Aims to Prevent Illicit Organ Transplant Tourism

Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (middle) holds a press conference on SB 1040, March 29, 2023. (The Texan/Matt Stringer)

Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (middle) holds a press conference on SB 1040, March 29, 2023. (The Texan/Matt Stringer)

A new law in Texas combats forced organ harvesting through insurance policy protocols and prevents Texas residents from unknowingly involving themselves in organ tourism.

Forced organ harvesting, a practice attributed to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the involuntary organ removal from a living person. In legislation, it is defined as “the removal of one or more organs from a living person by means of coercion, abduction, deception, fraud, or abuse of power or a position of vulnerability.” As early as 2006, evidence shows that a majority of the victims are Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.

Senate Bill 1040, signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on June 18, 2023, bans insurance coverage of organ transplants in countries that commit state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting. In particular, the law targets the CCP’s billion-dollar organ transplant industry.

Senate Bill 1040’s legislative intent directly addresses the forced organ harvesting of spiritual adherents and minority groups.

“It is the intent of the legislature that this Act…bring awareness to China’s state-sanctioned practice of forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience and other vulnerable persons, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and House Church Christians.”

Texas Senate Bill 1040

Effective on September 1, 2023, the law designates the commissioner of state health services to oversee the proper implementation for health benefit plan issuers.

Future Implications

As the pioneer of this new legislative policy to block forced organ harvesting, the state of Texas takes an approach that may serve as a catalyst for other medical centers around the United States.

“This legislation will have an immediate impact across Texas, ensuring Americans will not be complicit in this horrific atrocity,” said Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center. “As more states and other countries follow this example, we should be able to snuff out illicit organ tourism to China.”

Notably, the Texas Medical Center (TMC) is the largest medical complex in the world, with 61 institutions and over 10 million patients on average per year. Medical professionals in the TMC system, such as Dr. Howard Monsour, have condemned organ tourism and the transplant surgeons involved in forced organ harvesting in China.