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Old 02-08-2002, 12:45 PM   #1
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ethics and the human organ blackmarket

So the other night I was flipping through the channels and ended up watching a news report on the proliferation of the human organ blackmarket. People selling their organs (usually kidneys) for profit and the ethics of the whole thing. It's illegal currently, but there are some who are arguing that we should make it legal and then regulate it, while others see it as a horrific practice. I must admit, while I would never sell a part of my body (I'm far too afraid of doctors to go under the knife willingly ) I am not fully certain if it is not a person's right to do so if they wish. After all, we permit abortion under the argument that it is "my body and thefore my right to do what I want with it". Of course, on the flipside, our society has in general decided that just because it's your body and you have financial need does not mean you can sell it ie. prostitution is illlegal.

With the organ market, the scary part is the propensity for the poor to be taken advantage of and exploited. Many of the people on this news program that had sold their kidneys were from very poor former Soviet-bloc countries, and the offer of $10,000 for an operation that they were told would not affect their lives was too much temptation. But some of them found that they were permanently damaged by sub-standard operations and even lied to about the amount of money they would receive. Proponents of legalization would say that these are the kinds of things that make legalizing this necessary. That people are going to do it anyways, and that to make it safe and fair, the government should step in and regulate.

So, is it exploitation? Or a valid way to make money? What are your thoughts on this?


[This message has been edited by sulawesigirl4 (edited 02-08-2002).]

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Old 02-08-2002, 12:50 PM   #2
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:

So, is it exploitation? Or a valid way to make money? What are your thoughts on this?
I'm not sure if exploitation is the word I'd choose, but I certainly wouldn't say it's a valid way to make money. Nobody would sell a part of their body unless it was as an absolute last resort. I think the real issue behind this is that people are living in situations in which this seems like the only way they can raise the money to survive.

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Old 02-08-2002, 01:15 PM   #3
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*thinks back to a futurama episode*

Street surgeon: Ehhh I take your lungs now, you get gills in 4-8 weeks.

I dont know the logistics of this whole problem, but it seems to me that its exploitation of yourself. Why you would ever sell one of your organs to make a quick buck is beyond me. I suppose that its a valid idea in theory but certainly something that should be at least monitored if made legal, organ donations are dangerous to the receiver, in that majority of them are rejected by the body. Surgery, getting one of your organs removed, is also quite dangerous. I suppose if people are willing to risk their own death in order to have a one time shot at making a couple thousand dollars then they can go ahead and do it, since they probably will anyway whether its legal or not. As sula mentioned prostitution is illegal, yet its been going on for thousands of years; now I could get more abstract here because these thoughts are sketchy and Im not entirely sure I remember everything exactly... see we had a debate about this at a little philosphy thing, but Im not sure whether it is being practiced anywhere or whether it was just a topic to argue upon... anyways! Red-light districts, government regulated brothel type things. The government owns the land, maintains the buildings, receives XX.X%% of revenues from the facility, and men and/or women can then legally go in and pay for sex. Much safter than street corner hookers, who arent diseased screened, arent concerned with the health of others, and are making tons of untaxed money. Point being, while most people are/would be against that kind of thing, it would be in a safer and more controlled environment. So, theoretically, a similar system could be put in place for organ sales. It could be there for people who desire it, not for the whole population. People do have the rights to their own body, they are their own person, they can get tatoos, peircings, and otherwise do crazyass shite to themselves, so if they choose to donate an organ and make some money then good for them - it could be set up like a blood donor system, except for organs. I dont think its a good idea, I dont think its a safe idea, but whatever floats your boat. I guess it all comes down to the person. I know I wouldnt cough over an organ for any ammount of money, anything I have two of is probably there for a reason, and anything I have one of I cant give away without dying. I digress... *keeps rambling on for 25 more minutes*
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Old 02-09-2002, 02:16 AM   #4
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
After all, we permit abortion under the argument that it is "my body and thefore my right to do what I want with it". -sula

This is a hell of a point for this issue.. Be sure to keep this in mind when you're responding.

That's all..
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Old 02-12-2002, 11:54 AM   #5
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so no one has an opinion on this? lol.
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Old 02-12-2002, 01:08 PM   #6
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I do sort of have an opinion, but it's not very spectacular, I'm afraid. I think that sometimes people need to be protected against themselves. The seatbelt discussion we had last month springs to mind. I'm not sure about the US, but where I'm from you don't get paid to donate blood, and I completely agree with that. Some people would have all their blood sucked out of them if they were paid for it.

I do realize that you run into the same problem as we would get by making abortions illegal - that people will just do it anyway - but how about this for a possible solution: Make a really big effort to get people to carry donor cards so that their organs can be used if they die in an accident. I mean a big, serious effort. And if that's not enough, maybe even consider an opt-out scheme... I can't remember which country did this, maybe Finland. That's a whole other discussion in itself, but it's something worth considering.
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Old 02-13-2002, 04:57 AM   #7
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losing a kidney and $10,000...can I phone a friend? Its not a whole heap of money is it? I guess its a fortune to the lower socioeconomic group that do it. I just think its not worthwhile for the money. The sad thing about it is, there are people willing to volunteer their parts for those who need it. Transplants etc.

I think ultimately its the black market aspect that Im most uncomfortable with. If it was somehow more medical and strictly for the purpose of saving lives, I could deal with it. If the government paid and it was all above board I could eventually get used to it...maybe.

$10,000??? I cant get past this bit. Shesus, sell your car, your house...your kids! (jk about the kids) if you need cash.
Your organs, are like...ok, Sula, I think its wrong. Definately wrong.

There, I made up my mind!

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