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Legalization of Selling Organs

I am having problem understanding these articles. I am supposed to agree or disagree with the legalization of selling organs? (especially the kidneys).


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Interesting topic! One approach to help you with this assignment is to look at BOTH sides of the argument of selling kidneys (or not) presented by the authors of the two articles, which can help you decide which position to argue from. This is the approach this response takes.

Let's take a closer look.


What side of the argument do you want to argue? Your argument will be more persuasive if you argue it from your moral stance on the issue. Often your moral stance will determine how you argue the scientific and economic side on the controversy, but not always. For example, you might that it is morally wrong to transplant organs based on your religious belief that God did not intend for us to have other people's blood line or organs in our body. God is the provider of life, or something to that effect. However, you might still see the scientific benefit of being a life safer, but still argue that it is wrong because it is morally wrong. You might argue that people might get pregnant for the organs to save a loved one, for example.

Two possible thesis statements:

Given the shortage of kidneys for transplant, the legislation of selling organs is the ethical thing to do.


Even though there is a shortage of kidneys for transplant, the legislation of selling organs is morally wrong.

If you decide to agree, then you could use the arguments proposed by both articles in order to increase the number of organs available for transplant in order to save lives and/or provide higher quality of life to others, e.g. those on dialysis. For example, Radcliffe-Richards, Daar, Guttmann, Hoffenberg, Kennedy, Lock, Sells and Tilney (1998) make a compelling case for selling kidneys. If you agree, then you can use some of their arguments for selling kidneys, as discussed below. However, they also state the argument against those the selling of organs, so you could also use those arguments if you disagree with selling organs. Sells (1999) proposes three other solutions to consider in order to increase the number of organs available for transplant.

Let's take a closer look at the arguments proposed in the two articles, which you can consider for your own argument.

It is an ethical/morally charged issue to sell/buy organs, such as kidneys. However, Radcliffe-Richards, et al. (1998) argue that given the shortage of kidneys to transplant, the debate of selling kidneys should be reopened. These authors point out that when "the practice of buying kidneys from live vendors first came to light some years ago, it aroused such horror that all professional associations denounced it and nearly all countries have now made it illegal." On what basis was this prohibition?

There are several common ethical reasons stated in the article for not selling organs, which the authors argue against:

1. The commonest objection to kidney selling is expressed on behalf of the vendors: the exploited poor, who need to be protected against the greedy rich.

Radcliffe-Richards, et al. (1998) argue against this. Do you agree with them, and if so, you can use some of his arguments for selling and buying kidneys? The above authors have this to say:

"In general, furthermore, the poorer a potential vendor, the more likely it is that the sale of a kidney will be worth whatever risk there is. If the rich are free to engage in dangerous sports for pleasure, or dangerous jobs for high pay, it is difficult to see why the poor who take the lesser risk of kidney selling for greater rewards?perhaps saving relatives' lives,11 or extricating themselves from poverty and debt?should be thought so misguided as to need saving from themselves" (Radcliffe-Richards, et al., 1998).

Do you agree with these authors? Or, is this still exploitation of the poor, given the fact that people make unwise decisions when they feel desperate. Is it not society's duty to protect the most vulnerable? I think so. What do you think? Can you see the potential abuses here?

2. It is morally/ethically disgusting just thinking of selling and burying organs for an economic advantage. However, Radcliffe-Richards, et al. (1998) also argues against using the reason of disgust and says it this way:

"Most people will recognize in themselves the feelings of outrage and disgust that led to an outright ban on kidney sales, and such feelings typically have a force that seems to their possessors to need no further justification. Nevertheless, if we are to deny treatment to the suffering and dying we need better reasons than our own feelings of disgust."

The authors conclude:

"Although both these arguments appeal to the importance of autonomous choice, they are quite different. The first claim is that the vendors are not competent to make a genuine choice within a given range of options. The second, by contrast, is that poverty has so restricted the range of options that organ selling has become the best, and therefore, in effect, that the range is too small. Once this distinction is drawn, it can be seen that neither argument works as a justification of prohibition" (Radcliffe-Richards, et al. 1998). ...

Solution Summary

In references to the legalization of selling organs, this solution summarizes the arguments presented by the authors in the two articles provided. By illustrative example, it then argues against the legalization of selling organs.