Cadavers Exhibit Prompts Ethical Questions Exhibitions of human cadavers attract thousands of visitors across the country -- and rakes in millions. The exhibits have also raised ethical concerns. Guests discuss the science, showmanship and controversy of the exhibition of bodies.
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Cadavers Exhibit Prompts Ethical Questions

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Cadavers Exhibit Prompts Ethical Questions

Cadavers Exhibit Prompts Ethical Questions

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington.

For the past two years, an exhibit called Body Worlds has been touring the United States and attracting a lot of visitors. It features beautifully preserved, skinless cadavers, theatrically lit and dramatically posed, riding a horse maybe or playing chess.

It's success spawned competition, including a show called Bodies: The Exhibit. Presenters say the displays educate visitors about anatomy and the wonders of the human body and that their popularity is a boon for under-funded science museums.

But some wonder who these people were and where they came from. Did they agree to have their bodies used like this? Are public displays of cadavers education, entertainment or freak shows? Like it or not, producers say 20 million people around the world have now visited these exhibits over the past 10 years and that business is booming.

Later in the program, we'll go to Mexico City, where protests continue following the disputed presidential election there, and to Lebanon for an update on efforts to get humanitarian supplies to the southern part of the country.

But first, cadavers and controversy. If you visited one of these shows, what did you think? Did you have reservations? Our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255. That's 800-989-TALK. The e-mail address is

Neda Ulaby is cultural reporter for NPR. She did a series of stories on the exhibit you may have heard on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED last week. And she joins us now in Studio 3A. Thanks very much for being on the show.

NEDA ULABY reporting:

Thank you, Neal.

CONAN: When you visited these exhibitions, what did you think?

ULABY: They're extraordinary. I don't think it would be - I think it would be near impossible to go to one of these exhibits to not be profoundly moved. And one of the things that really startled me when I went to them, and I went to three of them. I saw Bodies: The Exhibition in New York City, and I saw Body Worlds in Philadelphia and Body Worlds 2 in Denver. And there were so many people of so many ages who had such an incredible range of responses to these exhibitions.

I spoke to scientists who were marveling over the incredible skill with which these dissections were done. And I talked to people who identified themselves as very deeply religious people from a number of faiths who felt that this reaffirmed their feeling that, for example, that evolution was a myth and that only God could have created something as beautiful as a human being in the sort of perfect form.

CONAN: You mentioned Body Worlds. This has spawned - I mean, not only, it's spawned competition, it's spawned spin-offs. They have various iterations of this show traveling in different parts of the country.

ULABY: Two major exhibition distributors in the United States and then a third that's just started to get a foothold. Worldwide, there are perhaps eight or 10. It's a little hard to tell because a lot of these body exhibition companies abroad are, frankly, quite shady.

CONAN: There's also a big distinction between the two in this country, one of which are the Body Worlds. They say they know where all these bodies came from and that these people all gave permission, that this has been ethically cleared. And the other exhibition says, no, these are bodies that were unclaimed. We got them from China, and that's where we got them.

ULABY: That's correct. Gunther von Hagens's Body Worlds, which had its first exhibition in Japan in 1996, says that all of the bodies, all of the whole bodies, he exhibits in North America come from European and American donors.

He says that he never has ever used bodies that came to him in any kind of unethical way. He also plastinates bodies for sale in medical schools. Those do not necessarily come from donated bodies. Bodies: The Exhibition only uses bodies from China, unclaimed bodies, in their North American exhibitions.

CONAN: Yet even this Gunther von Hagens, he does not - these are all anonymous. He doesn't put any specific piece of paperwork with a specific body, cadaver. And as you say, these have been - well, tell us a little bit about the process by which they're preserved.

ULABY: The process is called plastination. It's a process that was invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, and it's a really extraordinary process. The way it works is all of the fluid is removed from a corpse, not necessarily a human corpse, by the way. When you go to some of these shows, you'll see animals preserved. And seeing them in their glory is also quite magnificent.

So what this process does is all of the fluid is taken out of a body and replaced with polymer. It's such an incredibly delicate process that, for example, all of the veins in a body can be filled with this plastinate and everything else can be stripped away so all that you see is a cloudlike form of veins, some of which are so tiny it's like filigree. It's beautiful.

CONAN: Well. Let's get some listeners involved in the conversation. 800-989-8255 if you'd like to join us, 800-989-TALK. Our e-mail address is talk@nprnews. And let's get - we'll begin with Ebony. Ebony's calling us from Cleveland.

EBONY (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Hi, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

EBONY: Yeah, I just wanted to comment that I went to the exhibit here in Cleveland. I think we have Body Worlds 2. I thought it was awesome, one of the best things I've ever seen in my life, except for some of the positions he had females in. I thought it was a little risqué, and maybe I'm being biased because I am a female, but you could really read a lot into some of the positions. But the overall work I thought was totally awesome, and I recommend anyone to go see it, which it was kind of hard trying to find someone to even go with me. But I thought it was awesome.

CONAN: Hard to find somebody to go with you because people felt a little skittish about it.

EBONY: Yeah or exactly, right. They're like, oh no, you know, you're sick and all that kind of stuff. And I'm thinking, you know, we can learn a lot from this, which I learned quite a lot.

CONAN: So you don't feel like a ghoul at all.

EBONY: No, not at all.

CONAN: And, on the other hand, if - I understand that they put out requests for people to donate their bodies after they die, would you consider donating yours?

EBONY: I've always considered it. I think that's the best way to learn. I think more people should do it. I am a spiritual person. I do believe that we will go on, but my body can be used for anyone to learn whatever they need to learn from it. I think that would awesome.

CONAN: All right, Ebony. Thanks very much for the call. Appreciate it.

EBONY: Thank you.

CONAN: Does she reflect a number of the people that you talked with, Neda?

ULABY: Absolutely. And one thing that I've heard from many people is when you first walk into in particular the Body Worlds exhibition, which are famous for the flair and the drama with which they're presented, the farther and farther you go into these exhibitions, the more baroque and, some would say, over the top the poses are. It's not at all uncommon to see a body turned, more or less, into a chest of drawers. The name of that body in particular is actually the Drawer Man. Some would find these whimsical and cute how either the body is pulled out in these sort of drawer-like ways or exploded in other ways. Others might find them gratuitous.

Dr. von Hagens himself says that each one of these poses, even the ones that Ebony finds a little tasteless, he says that each one of these poses is intended to illustrate a particular anatomical principle.

CONAN: And he signs them, as if they are works of art.

ULABY: That is a fairly new development for him, and that comes in the wake of copyright disputes that he's had over competing exhibitions and the way they've arranged and plastinated their bodies.

CONAN: Let's get another caller on the line, Kim. Kim also calling from Cleveland.

KIM (Caller): Yes, I'm a nursing student, and I went to see it in Cleveland. And I went with my professor, actually, and we spent hours with our books open and laying on the floor and identifying all the different body parts and veins, and it was just fascinating.

CONAN: So you took this as an anatomy lesson.

KIM: It was an anatomy lesson. But I actually, that was the second time I saw it. I was able to attend the opening in Cleveland with my husband for my anniversary present. And so I actually got to see all the bodies as I had heavy hors d'oeuvres and a glass of wine, so it was actually very interesting.

CONAN: I suspect you won't forget it.

KIM: No, definitely not. There was something interesting. The same person that did this exhibit, Dr. von whatever his last name is.

CONAN: Hagens, yeah.

KIM: I was in London a couple of months ago and watching TV, my husband and I, and he actually has a live autopsy show where he does an autopsy with a live audience and kind of goes through whatever ailment this person had or what they died from and then has a human model that he can point out on them where he's going to start cutting. It was - my husband said it was kind of like a train wreck. He couldn't stop watching.

CONAN: Mm-hmm.

ULABY: Be it may, I ask the caller if you had any discussions in your class with your professor about the ethics of such exhibitions and about the sort of collision of entertainment and education.

KIM: The only thing that we - the way we handled it is it was not considered a fieldtrip. We met our professor there, and we made our choice to go individually. You didn't have to attend. Because there were some people that really didn't think that it was a correct thing to do.

CONAN: There are medical schools in Cleveland where people - medical students -do autopsies as a matter of course, as part of their instruction. Kim, you could have presumably just gone, taken the class to go see one of those.

KIM: True, you probably could have, but I don't know. It was just, as people were saying, in the different positions that they put these people in, it's just so amazing to see the muscles actually work. It's almost like a lesson in movement because they change every time someone changes their position.

CONAN: And I guess, Neda, I'm old enough to remember those plastic models that you bought, you were given as kids. The Visible Man and the Visible Woman. Certain parts were omitted, but anyway, I'm sure there are rather more complicated versions - I've seen them in museums. That's a difference between you know plastic, real plastic, and plasticized cadavers.

KIM: Right. You can really see all of the different things that can happen. And he also has a huge section on what happens if you smoke and what happens if you drink. And so you really got to see what a black lung looked like, and it was much more I think moving than seeing a picture of it.

ULABY: Now when I interviewed Dr. von Hagens in Denver at the show there, one of the things he told me was that he chose to exhibit the bodies in this very kind of dynamic way because he had tried showing them in Japan in the first exhibition laid out in similar ways as you might see in an anatomical lab, and he said that it freaked people out, that they looked spooky. They looked like ghosts. They looked, in short, like corpses. And some critics would say that perhaps by exhibiting these bodies in these tremendously dynamic poses to a certain extent it takes - it adds an element of unreality to it, that you're -

CONAN: Abstracted.

ULABY: - but from the death and from the fact that these were actual human beings.

CONAN: Did you think of them as real human beings, Kim?

KIM: You know I have to admit in a way I thought of them more as works of art because of the way they were set out, and the only thing that - I chose to go but my husband didn't - behind a curtain you could go to see, they actually had fetuses inside someone's body at different stages of development. And my husband knew he couldn't handle that, and I knew that I could. So there were things that you actually got to decide can I go that step further?

CONAN: Kim, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate the phone call.

KIM: Thank you, bye-bye.

CONAN: There are, as she mentioned, exhibits of fetuses and fetuses in human body, also of children, which raise questions about consent and other ethical issues. We're going to be talking about those with two ethicists when we come back from a break.

If you'd like to join the conversation, again, our number is 800-989-8255, 800-989-TALK. Our e-mail address is I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. We're talking today about the popularity of body exhibits and taking your calls. If you've been to one of these exhibits, give us a ring. What did you think? Or are you avoiding them? Do you have reservations about them? 800-989-8255, 800-989-TALK, e-mail is

Our guest is NPR's Neda Ulaby, who did a story, a series of stories, you may have heard last week about these exhibits on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

Joining us now is Anita Allen. She's a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the Twenty-First Century Moral Landscape. She wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Body Worlds exhibit. And she joins us now from the studio at the Wharton Business School of Communications Office on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Nice of you to be with us today.

Professor ANITA ALLEN (University of Pennsylvania): Thanks so much.

CONAN: I know you saw the exhibit, and I know you thought it was a freak show. How come?

Prof. ALLEN: Well, I didn't exactly think it was a freak show, but I did think that given the popularity, one had to look carefully at some of the ethical issues raised. And I was concerned about a lot of what I saw in Philadelphia.

CONAN: I'm sorry.

Prof. ALLEN: I was concerned by a lot of what I saw in Philadelphia.

CONAN: Like what?

Prof. ALLEN: I was concerned about the presence of children in the exhibit. I was concerned about the manner in which some of the female cadavers were posed. I was concerned about the depersonalization of formerly living people, and we can't treat dead people like old furniture.

CONAN: Yeah, that's something that a lot of people have concerns about, but yet, as you know, I think in that exhibit, the impresario, if you will, has said that he's checked with everybody. All of these people understood that their bodies were to be used this way.

Prof. ALLEN: Yeah, there are two separate informed consent issues. One is whether or not the actual cadavers - adults, children, fetuses - have given or had informed consent given on their behalf. The second question, though, was whether anybody should be permitted to give informed consent to have their bodies plastinated and put on display in a public museum.

CONAN: There are also, well, traditions in any number of different, you know, cultures and religions, but a lot of people have objections to bodies being presented this way.

Prof. ALLEN: That's right. A lot of people believe that when you die your body should be buried intact or cremated intact, and that if you don't honor the body in that way, there may be repercussions for the afterlife. But even people who don't believe in the afterlife still have concerns about the lack of dignity reflected in putting a hat on a skeleton or splaying open a body like a piece of anchovy and hanging it up on a pole. Those kinds of thinks I think are very offensive to the moral sensitivities of a lot of Americans.

CONAN: And I know that you also objected to the atmosphere at the exhibition that you went to, that there was a lot of, well, off-color remarks.

Prof. ALLEN: There were a lot of off-color remarks. I think that nervous giggling is one thing, but there were an awful lot of downright sexist and inappropriate comments being made about the displays. But that alone would not cause me to think the display shouldn't happen. I think that rather than say the display is all right or all wrong, we should look very carefully at the respects in which this kind of show does put pressure on, does come into conflict with deeply held moral and ethical beliefs.

CONAN: Let me ask you, Neda Ulaby, about that sort of presentation issue. Are there efforts to you know give this a dignified air? Is there music playing? I mean we're talking about dramatic lighting and these dynamic poses that you're talking about. Is there you know sort of a hushed atmosphere?

ULABY: I would say it depends on what time of day you go and to which exhibition. Body Worlds is very careful with the museums that sponsor it. It says to stagger entrance, for example, so that not too many people are crowding into an exhibition at a given time. Some museums said people could only stay for a certain amount of time.

I saw three of these shows. The first one I went to, I would agree with Professor Allen. This also was in Philadelphia, and it was a mob scene. It was a circus-like atmosphere. I went to another Body Worlds show where it was very somber, very respectful, and one felt like you were surrounded by serious people who were paying attention to a serious topic.

So I think it may depend on, you know, if you're there at 2:00 in the afternoon and there are tons of screaming kids and you know noisy teenagers and people out on dates. Then again if, it may be dependent. It may be a situational kind of a circumstance.

CONAN: Let's get another caller into the conversation. This is Jonathan, Jonathan calling us from Newton, Kansas.

JONATHAN (Caller): Yes, correct.

CONAN: Hi, go ahead. You're on the air.

JONATHAN: I view this really - while it shouldn't be outlawed in any way, and I'm not going to say it's worthless, because I do think it has valuable scientific information that's available - this is the modern-day equivalent of a gladiator spectacle. It's right there with public execution, midget throwing and trying to find value in women's mud wrestling.

CONAN: I wonder, Anita Allen, would you agree?

Prof. ALLEN: Well, I do think that it's in the tradition of circus, in the tradition of spectacle, and that we have to stand back from this and not let the fact that there is some educationally redemptive feature of these shows make us think that we're above P.T. Barnum here. This is a profit-making venture put on by a man with a bizarre moral and aesthetic sense who wants to make money and is making money off of our curiosity and our sense for the weird and the cool.

That's what's going on, and we shouldn't let the fact that it's popular somehow blind us to asking the right questions about how should we, a nation that typically buries the dead, respects the dead, respects, for example, the remains of people who were killed in 9/11 or displaced by the Katrina flood, how do we reconcile that level of concern about the dead with our support for these kinds of profit-making spectacles? How do we reconcile those two things?

I have a hard time figuring it out.

CONAN: Neda, you -

JONATHAN: Well, one -

CONAN: Go ahead, Jonathan. I'm sorry.

JONATHAN: One way to reconcile things is never to outlaw or abandon. But it is (unintelligible) in a very educated and very large majority way regulate things. You used the word respect a lot, and I think it's very valid because people talk both left and right about the slide downhill for respect for life.

On people in the right, they say, oh, fight a war, and they're killing people. People on the left say, well, abortion's okay because it's a choice, not a child. This is what you get in a society that doesn't sit as a group and really think through what they're faced with, modern technology because of the absence of leadership.

CONAN: Okay.

JONATHAN: And I'll hang up and listen.

CONAN: Okay, Jonathan, thanks very much. And, Neda, you did talk with Dr. von Hagens, and he says, hey, I'm in the entertainment business.

ULABY: He does, and not only that I would point out that the people who are being exhibited are not seeing themselves as exploited if - and here I am making the point, as Dr. von Hagens does, that presumably the people who are on display are the people who come from his very large - thousands of people have said that they want to donate their bodies to him. They say they see this as a kind of a mummification, as a kind of even immortality. Should those people's wishes be respected?

Prof. ALLEN: But it's not really immortality. These plastinates have a lifespan. They will eventually deteriorate and have to be disposed of. It's not even close to immortality.

CONAN: Let's bring another guest into the conversation. The California Science Center was first to exhibit Body Worlds here in the U.S. Rabbi Morley T. Feinstein is senior rabbi at the University Synagogue and a member of the Ethics Advisory Committee for the California Science Center that helped review the Body World exhibit for the center. He's with us from Los Angeles. Nice to speak with you today.

Rabbi MORLEY T. FEINSTEIN (Ethics Advisory Committee for the California Science Center): Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to the program.

CONAN: What did you think when you first saw the show?

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: When I first saw the show, I was absolutely in awe of the physical body that I have that's underneath the skin. The elements that have been raised as objectionable by one of the callers and by our professor, with all due respect to the way they may have viewed the show, we saw this is an absolutely extraordinary opportunity to see what the human body looks like and that somehow underneath the skin we really are all one.

CONAN: Were there any ethical considerations that your committee reviewed, any problems at all?

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: Oh, absolutely. In fact, one of the critiques that I read about, both from Professor Allen and from Neda in her show last week, is that the Ethics Committee seems to be part of that marketing progress.

I have to tell you, when I'm sitting here around the table with a professor of moral theology from a Catholic seminary, from a man who's taught philosophy at the Loyola Marymount University - a Jesuit Catholic institution - with two professors who are ethicists and medical professors at UCLA, as well as others, this is not the kind of committee that would take anything lightly in the ethics vein.

In fact it was appropriate for the California Science Center to check with us and to leave it up to us to see whether in fact a contract would be signed regarding the actual exhibition before it was at the California Science Center.

CONAN: Neda, I just wanted to check something. I think your report said that the decision to put this exhibition on had been made before the ethics panel review.

ULABY: I don't know if I said that in my piece. However, at least one of the people that I spoke to on this ethics board was unaware of controversies that have been raging about the Body Worlds exhibitions in Europe prior to its coming here. And almost everyone I spoke to, including that professor, said that those controversies were not looked at with any kind of deep scrutiny.

Prof. ALLEN: I interviewed the directors of the Franklin Institute here in Philadelphia - which sponsored Body World - and was told that for them the decision to put this show on came before they convened their ad hoc ethics committee to consider what ethical issues might be on the table. And that committee simply recommended that they put the pregnant woman behind a black curtain, along with the fetuses, but did not in any way have a role in deciding whether or not the show went on.

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: Well, that's not what happened with California. With all due respect to how they handle things in Philadelphia, maybe they needed a model of how to do things right out here the way we did it the first time.

We actually engaged an ethicist to deal with some of the issues of informed consent. One of the leading ethicists, Dr. Hans-Martin Sass, senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of ethics and a professor of philosophy at the director of the Center for Medical Ethics at Ruhr-University.

This gentleman actually was sent by the Science Center to engage with Dr. von Hagens and to check the files and to make sure that the legal requirements for informed consent and clinical research were actually upheld. And, in fact, they were upheld.

CONAN: Here's an e-mail we got from Tracy Caine(ph) in San Antonio, Texas.

I visited the Body Worlds 3 Exhibition in Houston, Texas, and I was sickened and enthralled at the same time. I walked out and I'm still not sure to this very day how I feel about exhibiting bodies. How could somebody possibly consent to living in perpetuity, playing poker without their skin? Do donors consent to these poses?

And I wonder, Rabbi - I know you've heard on this program and you may have had questions about this - people have raised questions about taste in some of these poses.

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: Yes. Well, certainly they know. And the consent forms that were on display at the California Science Center also allowed that people actually did sign up to understand that they were going to be in some kind of exhibition and some kind of format for educational purpose.

I think it's important to note that these exhibits - and I really can't speak for the other museums - but they're in science centers. They are not held in convention centers or in private halls. They're in public centers for education. I want to really focus on the educational value that's important here.

When I went to the exhibit and I saw a seventh grade class with students with notebooks, and I looked as one turned to the other and said, oh my God, that's what a cancerous lung looks like. I'm never putting a cigarette in my mouth.

I realized that there were hundreds upon thousands of people who would have the potential to learn about not smoking and about not drinking and the affects it would have because they would see a cirrhotic liver.

And for me, the value of public health - of learning, of seeing what the human body is, is such a marvel from our creator and of caring for it - those were absolute paramount issues.

CONAN: We're talking about exhibitions of cadavers that are touring the country currently. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And let's get another caller on the line. And this is David. David's calling us from Ypsilanti in Michigan.

DAVID (CALLER): Yes. Hello. I'm a professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at Eastern Michigan University, and I saw the exhibit when it first started in Germany - in Munich.

CONAN: Mm hmm.

DAVID: I had some serious concerns at the time regarding informed consent of children and of fetuses. And then I also planned to bring this up in my class -since it's now coming into the United States - as to the fact in making profit on this. It's one thing to - and I want to have the class discussion on the profitability factor of it. My own personal feeling is - I'd be interested to see what the class thought - but I had some serious concerns regard informed consent.

Also, you had asked about the freak show aspect of it. Many of the positions -at least in the German exhibit that I saw, I haven't seen it in the States -were freakish. And definitely the comments - like one of the earlier callers had made - were not all about how the lung looks. But they were quite sexual or - and so on and many of the positions were laid out in that way.

CONAN: Mm hmm. All right, that was Germany and not Los Angeles. Rabbi Feinstein...

DAVID: That was Munich.

CONAN: Munich, excuse me. Well, part of Germany. The informed consent issue in terms of children and fetuses, did that come up at all?

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: Yes, it certainly did. And what it was important for us to note is that the - one of the key areas where people have differed is there's a screen, at least there was at the Science Center in Los Angeles. And the screen, behind which there was a woman who well knew that were she to become pregnant there was a possibility of her dying and death. And she had made her informed consent decision regarding herself and the fetus, which was inside her as the property of her mother.

And so what in this case - I have to tell you, having just had the miracle of my wife giving birth to twins, we looked at that fetus inside the mother and the first reaction was: and you had two of them inside you? But it was indeed for us a feeling of absolute incredulity at what a wonder it was that some are able to live in this world and, unfortunately, some die.

Prof. ALLEN: It is unfortunate. And that particular display was in Philadelphia placed behind a special black curtain. And I had very strongly negative responses to that. Why is it that the human reproductive function has to be treated as something special? If we're going to have an open and free discussion and viewing of the human body, why do we treat the female pregnant body as different?

And when it comes to children, we're not just talking about the fetuses and the embryos. There are actual little children who appear to be between three and six years old on display in an exhibit called The Family that's part of Body Worlds. We have to also address the question of their informed consent and who has the right to give consent on behalf of these children. Not fetuses, but children.

DAVID: I agree. And being in Munich, it was also behind the curtain. But the point that the last speaker just made is exactly that. Who has the right to give that informed consent? And if that right is also a profit-making endeavor, it brings in another issue.

CONAN: Rabbi, we'll let you have the last word.

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: In this particular case, our ethics committee worked with the Science Center. The Science Center consulted with the UCLA child psychologists, as well as its own early childhood education staff to develop a parent and child guide to assist parents in deciding whether they want to bring their child to the exhibit or not and how to handle that particular visit.

I saw children at the exhibit. Their parents were pointing out the vein system or they were pointing out...

CONAN: I don't think the question was about children visiting the exhibit. It was about the children in the exhibit whose bodies were on display.

DAVID: Exactly.

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: Right. And the, you know, one thing that we knew regarding the informed consent was that in this particular area there was a sense of - for us - of having anonymity between the donor and the exhibit. And the issue of whether it's a fetus or a child really would have been, obviously, the decision of the parent in both cases to make such a decision.

CONAN: Rabbi, thank you.

Prof. ALLEN: We hope. We hope.

CONAN: We'll have to leave it there. Rabbi, thanks very much for your time today.

Rabbi FEINSTEIN: My privilege. And thank you for educating the public.

Prof. ALLEN: Thank you so much.

CONAN: Rabbi Morley T. Feinstein. And our thanks also to Anita Allen - who you just heard - a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Our thanks also to NPR's Neda Ulaby, who was with us here in Studio 3A. You can go to our Web site,, and listen to her reports that were featured last week on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

When we come back, we'll go to Mexico City and talk about the still disputed presidential election. This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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