Bodily integrity and the sale of human organs

Wilkinson, Stephen and Garrard, E. (1996) Bodily integrity and the sale of human organs. Journal of Medical Ethics, 22 (6). pp. 334-339. ISSN 0306-6800

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Existing arguments against paid organ donation are examined and found to be unconvincing. It is argued that the real reason why organ sale is generally thought to be wrong is that (a) bodily integrity is highly valued and (b) the removal of healthy organs constitutes a violation of this integrity. Both sale and (free) donation involve a violation of bodily integrity. In the case of the latter, though, the disvalue of the violation is typically outweighed by the presence of other goods: chiefly, the extreme altruism involved in the giving. There is usually no such outweighing feature in the case of the former. Given this, the idea that we value bodily integrity can help to account for the perceived moral difference between sale and free donation.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Medical Ethics
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11 Feb 2013 14:24
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 01:29