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Bodily integrity and the sale of human organs

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1996
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Medical Ethics
Issue number6
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)334-339
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.