My niece introduced me to the Unwind series of books last year after she had to read the first book in school. I found them so engaging and wonderfully written that I have since gone on to read them all.

Imagine that abortion was outlawed. There was a huge war (seemingly a sort of civil war). The flip side, according to the storyline, is that between the ages of 13 and 18, parents and guardians can have teens “unwound,” which is a sort of deconstruction of their body, though all the parts are have to be 90 percent or more repurposed, such as in transplants for others.

This solved two problems, according to the book’s government: that of the “feral” teens who were causing problems and wreaking havoc. So everyone’s supposed to be happy: there’s no abortion and all those problem teens are living a life of fulfilled purpose.

After reading the first three books, I thought that, yes, they were creepy, but they were also pretty unlikely to happen in real life. I can’t help but see parallels, of course, because suddenly there’s a “need” for unwinding, because of the demand for harvested organs and body parts, and there’s a black market and a culture of death that’s trumped up and no longer thinly veiled. (Unwinding, however, isn’t death. It’s billed as making your life matter and keeping people safe from troublemakers.)

Maybe NOT Unlikely After All

And then I come across something in my news-feed like this, from the Boston Globe:

Fertility medicine made a leap forward 10 days ago when a Swedish obstetrician announced the first birth of a baby from a transplanted womb, but specialists in Boston say such operations are unlikely to become commonplace anytime soon.

On Tuesday, Adelaide Mena covered it for the the Catholic News Agency, interviewing Father Tad Pacholczyk from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of the links included within the books of the Unwind series. They’re links to real news stories. One I clicked on yesterday referred to a black market for organs and child trafficking related to smuggling for organs:

Bharti Patel, the chief executive of Ecpat UK, the child protection charity, said: “Traffickers are exploiting the demand for organs and the vulnerability of children. It’s unlikely that a trafficker is going to take this risk and bring just one child into the UK. It is likely there was a group.”

According to the World Health Organisation as many as 7,000 kidneys are illegally obtained by traffickers each year around the world.

While there is a black market for organs such as hearts, lungs and livers, kidneys are the most sought after organs because one can be removed from a patient without any ill effects.

So while I entertain myself with a theoretical universe where teens are victimized for their parts, there are people dismantling themselves already and a black market that already exists for organs.

The rest is at the Register.