Pope assails organ trade, warns on transplants

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict condemned the trade in human organs as an abomination on Friday and urged caution in removing organs for transplant from dying donors who might not actually yet be dead.

Image The pontiff told scientists and bioethicists meeting at the Pontifical Academy for Life that the worldwide illegal organ trade often made victims of innocent people, including children.

Buying and selling of human organs is a lucrative business for suppliers and countries that allow foreign "transplant tourists" to have operations they cannot get at home. Organs are often bought from poor peasants and sometimes harvested from condemned prisoners.

Science has helped to better determine the moment of death, he said, and scientists should push to make this even more precise.

"There must not be the slightest suspicion of arbitrariness. Where certainty cannot be achieved, the principle of precaution must prevail," he said.