Getting-Kidneys-from-Prisoners Lite

This is Sally Satel and Ira Brody in The Wall Street Journal:

  1. Applies to prisoners at least five years away from release.
  2. Prisoner gets $40,000 in an account available after release.
  3. Donation has no impact on parole or release.

My reaction: It’s too modest. If women have the right to have an abortion, why don’t I have the right to sell my kidney — anytime, anywhere, for any price?

What are your thoughts?

Comments (10)

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  1. James F. says:

    This should be a no brainer. Whose life (kidney) is it anyway? Yours? Or the governemts?

  2. Greg says:

    I agree that the proposal is way too timid, although I have always liked Sally Satel. Why pussy foot around? We need one good Supreme Court ruling establishing that people own their own bodies (and organs in the bodies).

  3. Boyce says:

    If you can sell you blood, why can’t you sell an organ? What’s the difference?

  4. Mark says:

    I agree with you John. This should be a no brainer.

  5. Joe S. says:

    I don’t even understand why this is controversial. Whose life is it? the government’s?

  6. Vicki says:

    I agree we should have the right to sell our organs. Buying them from someone in prison, however, is a bit troublesome — if for no other reaon than the fact that its hard to see a prisoner as a free agent in a voluntary exchange.

  7. Jeff says:

    Much too modest. Not nearly radical enough.

  8. Ira Brody says:

    The real issue is “who owns your body.” Is it yours to do as you please? Is it the property of a deity that is just loaning it to you with a prescribed book of rules and regulations on how you might use it? Is it a governing body that may or may not be influenced by the deity of its majority population?

    It is interesting that we call people who give up their lives by taking a bullet for another person a hero. Yet if the same person saved that person by receiving compensation for a kidney that he/she did not need they are called immoral, unethical, and could be incarcerated for the act of saving a life.

    It goes without saying that most of these ethical moralists would beg, borrow, or steal the funds to buy a kidney if it was one of their loved ones that needed it. But the rules of the game change when we are not personally involved… We can be objective when it comes to someone elses life. Objectivity and deity makes it so easy to pass judgment on the lives of others. And, our basis is a morality dictated by a deity that those who have said they have seen, spoken to them, or are instructed to commit an act considered to be a crime are either put on heavy medication or sent to institutions for the criminally insane.

    What it really boils down to is this: If we truly own our bodies we should be able to do with it as we please. I guess that means sell it for sexual purposes, allow a woman to abort a fetus, get financial remuneration for our organs so that others may live, have sexual relations with an animal… providing that animal consents, and not be punished by incarceration or given “happy” drugs if we should decide, on our own, to end our life and not succeed.

    I am so lucky that my government has constitutionally separated church and state… thus, allowing me to utilize my body in any manner that I wish providing I do not harm others… or has it?

  9. Linda Gorman says:

    The real issue is how do we know the kidney for sale comes from someone who has really consented without undue coercion? Or has he been told he’ll be killed in jail by a gang or that his mother has been kidnapped and will be killed unless he donates?

    Having someone in the power of the government give up part of himself to get a reduced sentence does not look good at all. To really look at the ramifications of this, take a look at the Larry Niven organlegger stories.

  10. Erik says:

    Selling organs begins with the premise that someone is in desperate enough straights that they would consider selling a organ that may deminish their overall health.

    Looks like some ambitious entrepreneurs already tried this business model.