The Brain Death Fallacy is an essential book to read, especially for people claiming to be pro-life who have bought into the lie that people declared “brain dead” on a ventilator have passed from life to death. National Right to Life Committee, Uniform Law Commissioner (ULC) James Bopp correctly aligned the brain-death dispute with abortion and said these are an “identical debate, just a different context.” The issues relating to brain death are also connected with ongoing arguments about physician-assisted suicide and, even more tragically, euthanasia since technically “brain dead” people are mentally disabled and murdered by removing their organs.
According to a January 27, 2023 “Brain Death Criteria” article by StatPearls: “Brain death accounts for around 2% of deaths in the United States and is often caused by traumatic brain injury.” In 2022, approximately 3,273,705 deaths occurred in the United States, which means roughly 65,474 people were declared to have passed from life to death by neurological criteria (DNC). The activity also states: “Criteria for brain death determination were published in the American Academy of Neurology guidelines, but they are still a topic of ongoing debate” (emphasis the author).
Two percent sounds insignificant, but in context to the number of deaths in 2022, those 65,474 people declared dead by DNC would fill to maximum capacity most National Football League (NFL) stadiums. Of course, this figure is significant if you are one of 1.7 million registered organ donors in the United States—if declared brain dead, you will be rushed to the harvest, and no one can stop the process. Most registered organ donors are unaware of two things: (1) they will not pass from life to actual death before their organs are removed, and (2) the determination of brain death as death is still a matter of ongoing debate among the experts, as noted above.
One would expect there would be scientific certainty about a matter as important as life and death, but there’s not. More recently, since the ULC did not approve the American Academy of Neurology’s request to endorse its DNC guidelines, the group did an end run and published them in the October 11, 2023 edition of Neurology. How did the group develop a consensus to create its DNC guidelines? First, the AAN did not allow people who objected to their biases to participate in the deliberations. Second, the AAN believed brain death to be equal to death. Third, the AAN voted on the best way to diagnose brain death. Thus, they jettisoned science, clung to their biases, and embraced their agreed-upon worldview. Now, it’s fed to the public as a best practice in medicine.
The Brain Death Fallacy addresses a matter that every pro-lifer needs to confront if they want to honor life “from conception until true death,” as Dr. Paul Byrne is fond of saying. Harvesting organs from mentally impaired people is a travesty of justice, just as horrendous as aborting unborn babies. There is also the slippery slope to contend with. The Brain Death Fallacy will introduce most readers to an arcane topic that has been vigorously debated since 1968 and one that impacts their everyday lives.