Mandatory Organ Donation

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The Utilitarian
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby The Utilitarian » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:16 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:Happiness is not just a function of survival. Food, shelter, and clothing does not make people happy if they are forced to have their relatives organs taken against their will. Or the knowledge that their final wishes will not be honored. Your comparison is equally flawed.

And yet people will be equally unhappy if their loved ones are dying from lack of available organ transfer. Who's happiness matters more? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that having your wife die is going to make you more unhappy than having your already dead wife's body reduced in mass by a few pounds. If you're going to argue that organ harvesting is wrong because it makes people unhappy I think you need to consider how unhappy people and their families who don't get organ transplants are going to be.

Ouiser wrote:I think we'd also be in trouble if our laws were based entirely on logic. We can't discuss this issue in an vacuum devoid of emotional considerations and expect to come up with anything workable. It would be rejected out of hand the first time a religious person was told they were ignorant for not supporting the idea as has happened a couple times in this thread.

If we remove all emotion, it basically comes down to those who believe in individual sovereignty and those who believe in a more communal structure (I'm struggling for a good term here). I happen to believe the former, so it's up to me to decide what happens to my body after I die and hopefully my family will respect that (which I think they would). The other side seems to be arguing for the greater good. I think there are ways to convince the sovereign individual to participate in the greater good, but that it's immoral to force it on them.

Charity that is required is no longer charity, it's a tax (or theft by rule of law).


Well firstly I have to disagree that we'd be in trouble if laws were based on entirely logically sound principles but that's neither here nor there.

My problem with considering emotion here is that it's entirely too small a scope. Essentially the arguement is that organ harvesting is wrong because it upsets the emotions of the family of the deceased. But on the other hand you have the emotions of the family of the dying. Now you are in the position of the arbiter who decides whether the organs stay in the corpse or are removed and go in the dying person. Either way, someone's emotions will be upset. It seems to me that when your options are [upset some peole and save a life] or [upset some people and let a person die] that the choice should be clear.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby JBJ » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:33 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:
JBJ wrote:Happiness is not just a function of survival. Food, shelter, and clothing does not make people happy if they are forced to have their relatives organs taken against their will. Or the knowledge that their final wishes will not be honored. Your comparison is equally flawed.

And yet people will be equally unhappy if their loved ones are dying from lack of available organ transfer. Who's happiness matters more? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that having your wife die is going to make you more unhappy than having your already dead wife's body reduced in mass by a few pounds. If you're going to argue that organ harvesting is wrong because it makes people unhappy I think you need to consider how unhappy people and their families who don't get organ transplants are going to be.

The limb you went out on just broke. Both myself and my wife are organ donors. That's a choice that we made, not one that was forced upon us. I don't care how unhappy other families are because everyone isn't an organ donor. I'll be more than happy to proselytize the benefits of organ donation, how it doesn't conflict with most spiritual beliefs, etc, etc... But one thing I will not do is force that view upon others, nor will I think any less of them for making a choice not to donate.

Here's a hard truth; People are not obligated to provide aid, assistance, charity, or any other kind of help if they are unwilling. Really, it's just another way to say what Ouiser just wrote...
Ouiser wrote:Charity that is required is no longer charity, it's a tax (or theft by rule of law).
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby The Utilitarian » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:40 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:Here's a hard truth; People are not obligated to provide aid, assistance, charity, or any other kind of help if they are unwilling. Really, it's just another way to say what Ouiser just wrote...
Ouiser wrote:Charity that is required is no longer charity, it's a tax (or theft by rule of law).

And are taxes inherently unethical? You pay taxes every day of your life, with the understanding that the money from those taxes may not benefit you directly, but will benefit the society you live in.

Also the concept that there is no ethical obligation to render aid to others is hardly a point that can be taken as fact.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Lazar » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:Here's a hard truth; People are not obligated to provide aid, assistance, charity, or any other kind of help if they are unwilling.

But isn't it merely a legal fiction to say that an obligation is being imposed on the dead person? They're dead.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby JBJ » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:
JBJ wrote:Here's a hard truth; People are not obligated to provide aid, assistance, charity, or any other kind of help if they are unwilling. Really, it's just another way to say what Ouiser just wrote...
Ouiser wrote:Charity that is required is no longer charity, it's a tax (or theft by rule of law).

And are taxes inherently unethical? You pay taxes every day of your life, with the understanding that the money from those taxes may not benefit you directly, but will benefit the society you live in.

Of course not. That's like asking if a hammer is inherently lethal. Sure, you can use it to bash someone's head in, and that would be an unethical application, or you could use it to build a house which is entirely ethical and beneficial. Besides, taxes do benefit me directly. I drive to work on nicely paved roads, I take my daughter to play at several public parks, and I sleep soundly at night knowing that the police, fire department, and other emergency personnel are three punches of a button away. I tacitly approve the tax money that doesn't benefit me directly to be used for others at the government's discretion. The key point there is that I willingly accept it. If all the tax money starts going to other projects, the roads and parks fall apart and emergency services don't respond, you bet I'll be in a stink about it.

Edit ---
Lazar wrote:But isn't it merely a legal fiction to say that an obligation is being imposed on the dead person? They're dead.
There is a lot of precedent that reinforces the principle of a person's wishes succeeding their natural life. The entire field of estate law is dedicated to that. If I specify how my possessions are to be distributed or disposed of after my death they (usually) have to be honored. If I own a priceless Ming vase that I want ground into dust upon my death, why wouldn't that be honored? I own it. I could do it while I was alive, why can't I have it done upon my demise? I own my body. Why can't I dictate that it be destroyed upon my death?
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby The Utilitarian » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:Of course not. That's like asking if a hammer is inherently lethal. Sure, you can use it to bash someone's head in, and that would be an unethical application, or you could use it to build a house which is entirely ethical and beneficial. Besides, taxes do benefit me directly. I drive to work on nicely paved roads, I take my daughter to play at several public parks, and I sleep soundly at night knowing that the police, fire department, and other emergency personnel are three punches of a button away. I tacitly approve the tax money that doesn't benefit me directly to be used for others at the government's discretion. The key point there is that I willingly accept it. If all the tax money starts going to other projects, the roads and parks fall apart and emergency services don't respond, you bet I'll be in a stink about it.

So, let us consider organ harvesting as a tax. You approve of paying taxes because some portion of the tax you pay benefits you, even though it may also go to sources that have no benefit for you. After you are dead, _nothing_ can benefit you directly. You are dead. Therefore the only considerations remaining could be said to whether or not the organ tax could benefit your family. Clearly it could, much like how the individual dollars you spend in taxes have a chance to benefit you or not, the organs harvested from your corpse can potentially go to someone your family knows and loves who needs an organ transplant, or to someone they do not know.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby JBJ » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:17 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:So, let us consider organ harvesting as a tax. You approve of paying taxes because some portion of the tax you pay benefits you, even though it may also go to sources that have no benefit for you. After you are dead, _nothing_ can benefit you directly. You are dead. Therefore the only considerations remaining could be said to whether or not the organ tax could benefit your family. Clearly it could, much like how the individual dollars you spend in taxes have a chance to benefit you or not, the organs harvested from your corpse can potentially go to someone your family knows and loves who needs an organ transplant, or to someone they do not know.

You can't treat organ harvesting as a tax. A tax is the collection of a portion of assets. Treating a corpse as an asset implies it has value which flies in the face of the entire concept that corpses aren't transferable property.

(Edit - added "transferable" because it's an important distinction. A person's body is something they own, but one cannot sell their body to someone else.)
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby The Utilitarian » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:35 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:You can't treat organ harvesting as a tax. A tax is the collection of a portion of assets. Treating a corpse as an asset implies it has value which flies in the face of the entire concept that corpses aren't transferable property.

(Edit - added "transferable" because it's an important distinction. A person's body is something they own, but one cannot sell their body to someone else.)

Darn edits, and I was just going to point that out as a contradiction in the idea of ownership of your body. Though to be fair to deny that a corpse (or portion thereof) has value is pretty silly. Go break a human skeleton in an anatomy lab and ask how much it will cost to replace. Body parts have value whether or not it is officially recognized, though I concede to the conflict here in that using the framework of a tax would indeed lend value to the corpse in question which (for reasons I don't fully understand) is something the governing body in question wants to avoid.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Griffin » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:02 am UTC

At the beginning of this thread I was actually opposed to a mandatory system as being inherently unethical (though I supported an opt-out system), but now that I think about...

Thinking about it as a kind of estate tax is actually pretty sobering, and makes the mandatory approach seem a lot less galling.

I have no problem giving bodies monetary value, and then giving the government first dibs on "taxing" those assets (effectively making selling them yourself illegal, unless they are leftovers the government didn't want). Even people who are morally opposed to taxes have to pay them - and you generally don't get many people saying how its immoral that that is the case. It's part of the social contract - what you give back in exchange for safety, stability, security, and public works and government benefits. I don't see any good reason not to treat organ donation the same way - its the price you pay to live in society where you have a much better chance of getting a life saving donation yourself if anything goes wrong.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby mythago » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:08 am UTC

General_Norris wrote:"Right to live" isn't an important enough right?


I need $5000 for a life-saving operation. Therefore it should be both legal and morally acceptable for me to steal your car, sell it and use the money to pay for the operation.

Blood banks in your area are (as they usually are) chronically short of blood. If you do not donate blood every eight weeks, the government should arrest you and force you to donate. After all, isn't the right not to be forced to donate blood pretty unimportant compared to the right to life of a trauma patient?

The Utilitarian wrote:Ah but here we run into the tricky clash as to where the person who becomes the corpse's rights end and where the rights of the person who inherits ownership of the corpse begins.


No, we don't even reach that issue (as legal type people say) because the whole argument collapses unless people have a right to donor organs. This is a right that doesn't currently exist in any sense and becomes a nightmare unless you are going to pretend that anytime somebody needs an organ transplant, we will have a suitable organ available for them. Think about it: if there is one suitable kidney available, and both you and I have a "right" to it, who gets it? How can you choose between us if we have an absolute right to a transplant?

WRT inheritance, which doesn't actually apply to corpses (it's more like who gets to choose your medical care if you are incapacitated), generally if no heir exists the estate escheats to the state.

ETA: "estate tax" is a very silly way of looking at this, as estate taxes only apply to very large inheritances, and can be gotten around by means of things like trusts.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby General_Norris » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:07 pm UTC

Mythago, I already explained that your "comparison" is not valid. Unless you want to argue that organ donation will produce undesirable effects on society like a crime-wave would.

Also, you are also against blood donation? Seriously, I think I'm misunderstanding you because I see no logic for that.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Ouiser » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

His comparison of selling the car works if it's phrased just a little differently. Instead of having to steal the car, the government uses law to take it and sell it, then gives the money to that person for the operation. After all, his right to life is more important than the car. Just to get around "he needs that car to work" stuff, it's an extra car that he only drives on weekends for fun. He doesn't need it the same way we don't need our organs after we die.


Edit: I'm also not sure where you get the impression mythago is against donating blood. He's against making it mandatory, as am I.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby BlackSails » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:40 pm UTC

If the government is allowed to take things to help other people live, I hope you are ok with out a car, because I think the red cross could use some vehicles in haiti right now. Also, everyone will be required to submit to bone marrow biopsies, while alive.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby JBJ » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:14 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:Though to be fair to deny that a corpse (or portion thereof) has value is pretty silly. Go break a human skeleton in an anatomy lab and ask how much it will cost to replace. Body parts have value whether or not it is officially recognized, though I concede to the conflict here in that using the framework of a tax would indeed lend value to the corpse in question which (for reasons I don't fully understand) is something the governing body in question wants to avoid.
The cost of cadavers for medical use runs anywhere from a couple hundred up to a few thousand dollars. Bodies are donated and it is illegal to add a value to them. The cost comes from the embalming services and fluids used, storage, transport, operational, and administrative costs, not from the value of the body itself.

Now, if we start talking about taxes, here are two reasons why you can't "tax" a corpse: You cannot require specific items as payment for taxes, and taxes are supposed to be applied fairly and evenly.

If I am required to pay $1,000 in taxes, I can part with any combination of currency. Or I can part with other items I could convert to equal value, say 400 lbs. of copper at $2.50/lb. Or I could sell my stamp collection, if I can get $1,000 for it. The point is, as a taxing entity you can't come to my door and say "You owe us a blender and a bread maker."

Hopefully you'll agree that taxes should be applied fairly and evenly. All things being equal, two people with the same income and same assets should be taxed identically. I have the exact same blender and bread maker as my neighbor, but he values his appliances more than I do. When the government comes to collect, I have no problem giving them up. Honestly, I didn't have any use for them anymore. When the government goes to collect on my neighbor, he is more hesitant to give them up. Because he values them more, he is being taxed more than I am, subjectively, for the same objective assets. Therefore, taxes are being applied unfairly.

Since you cannot specify what assets can be collected (because that leads to unfair taxation), if the government comes as says "You owe us the heart, lungs, and kidneys" I should be able to offer other assets of equal value for payment. Now we've just set a market price for body parts. With a price, people are going to weigh their emotional attachment to their loved one's "intact-ness" to a monetary amount. Giving a monetary value to emotions is a very, very, dangerous road to start down. That is why, in my opinion, the act of donating should always remain as a gift. Never a requirement. And as a gift, the choice should always be at the individual's discretion, and never assumed.

Edit -
Really more of an afterthought... for those in favor of a mandatory donation, would you be in support of some sort of penalty if the organs were not viable or in good condition? i.e., if someone smokes, their lungs will obviously not be a good transplant candidate. Same for a drinker's liver, etc...

It also applies to General Norris' comment below about mandatory blood donation. Would you impose a penalty on someone who got a tattoo, since they wouldn't be able to donate for a year? What about something that wasn't their choice, like chronically low or high blood pressure?
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby General_Norris » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:36 pm UTC

Ouiser wrote:His comparison of selling the car works if it's phrased just a little differently. Instead of having to steal the car, the government uses law to take it and sell it, then gives the money to that person for the operation.


No, you are not understanding me at all. Also your example doesn't make sense because you can build a new car instead of "nationalizing" it. You can't build organs (yet).

Comparisions to redistribution of wealth make no sense because redistribution of wealth is a bad economic model that leads to the fall of society while mandatory organ donation doesn't have such an effect.

Edit: I'm also not sure where you get the impression mythago is against donating blood. He's against making it mandatory, as am I.


Well, and why is that so? What's so bad about mandatory blood donation when mythago says that "Blood banks in your area are (as they usually are) chronically short of blood"? I mean, what kind of ill-effects does mandatory blood donation have?

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Ouiser » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:52 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:
Ouiser wrote:His comparison of selling the car works if it's phrased just a little differently. Instead of having to steal the car, the government uses law to take it and sell it, then gives the money to that person for the operation.


No, you are not understanding me at all. Also your example doesn't make sense because you can build a new car instead of "nationalizing" it. You can't build organs (yet).

Comparisions to redistribution of wealth make no sense because redistribution of wealth is a bad economic model that leads to the fall of society while mandatory organ donation doesn't have such an effect.

Edit: I'm also not sure where you get the impression mythago is against donating blood. He's against making it mandatory, as am I.


Well, and why is that so? What's so bad about mandatory blood donation when mythago says that "Blood banks in your area are (as they usually are) chronically short of blood"? I mean, what kind of ill-effects does mandatory blood donation have?



I don't think we're going to be able to agree on this issue. There is a fundamental difference in the way we think. Ask me to donate blood and I'll happily do it (and have on many occasions). If I'm no longer free to make that choice, that's when the problem starts.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Chen » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:50 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:Well, and why is that so? What's so bad about mandatory blood donation when mythago says that "Blood banks in your area are (as they usually are) chronically short of blood"? I mean, what kind of ill-effects does mandatory blood donation have?


This here alone is already significantly different from the body issue. Donating blood actually has a detrimental effect (albeit a temporary one) on a person, yet you have no qualms about forcing it on people because others could use it? Why not mandate partial liver transplants from everyone too. I mean it'll save someone else right? And bone marrow too. I mean its only some pain, whats that versus saving someone?

Can you not see the problems with making these things mandatory? Donating organs is not at the same level but harm (to the relatives of the deceased) can still occur in this type of situation.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby juststrange » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

Can we atleast all agree to stop using the word donation and mandatory in the same sentence? Title ought to be changed to "mandatory organ harvesting". Donations are not mandatory, by definition.

There are many people who cannot give blood, for legitimate reasons - AIDS, Chagas, Hepatitis, etc. There are other folks who are at risk for these diseases: the tattooed, anyone whose ever been to Africa, slept with an African, been in jail, been a homosexual man (Red Cross' definition, not mine). So really that whole process is bunk for other reasons than those we are currently discussing. Just because something can be bought off as morally right or atleast morally "better" does not impact its legal status. There are differing moral opinions, multiple of which can be justified. I ask that folks respect those of others, including the decision not to donate. If I chose not to donate based on my religion, thats a perfectly valid reason. Same goes for if I am just a selfish prick.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:41 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:At the beginning of this thread I was actually opposed to a mandatory system as being inherently unethical (though I supported an opt-out system), but now that I think about...

Thinking about it as a kind of estate tax is actually pretty sobering, and makes the mandatory approach seem a lot less galling.

I have no problem giving bodies monetary value, and then giving the government first dibs on "taxing" those assets (effectively making selling them yourself illegal, unless they are leftovers the government didn't want). Even people who are morally opposed to taxes have to pay them - and you generally don't get many people saying how its immoral that that is the case. It's part of the social contract - what you give back in exchange for safety, stability, security, and public works and government benefits. I don't see any good reason not to treat organ donation the same way - its the price you pay to live in society where you have a much better chance of getting a life saving donation yourself if anything goes wrong.


This doesn't really work as a "tax" per se. If I, a young, relatively healthy person, die suddenly, I may have several usable organs that might be prime for harvesting. If my grandfather died, he might have no salvageable organs. Now, if my estate is taxed 5 organs, and his estate is taxed none, what does that mean? If the organs have monetary value, does that mean that his estate needs to cough up the value of those organs to make up the difference?* On a more general note, I don't think that "dibs" is a legally applicable concept, nevermind why the government should ever be entitled to such a privilege. What, exactly, makes you believe that the government would have the right to take them?

Frankly though, if we're starting down this path anyway, why stop with organs? Hair can be used to make wigs. Some of the blood can be pumped from the body and used on other people. Bone marrow and spinal fluid can be extracted. Skin can be used for grafts. Bones can be used as fertilizer or glues. Fat can be used to make soaps. The fleshy bits can be ground up and made into food. I'm sure if we put some effort into it, we could probably get rid of pretty much an entire body in usable goods. I mean, the person is dead, right; why would they care?



*Aside: I actually do believe that all estate taxes are unethical should be abolished. The concept of them doesn't make any sense--all of the goods in the estate have already been subject to taxation, and all of the wealth has been subject to the relevant income taxes, etc. There's no practical reason why the tax should exist--it's purely a cash grab.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby The Utilitarian » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:26 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Frankly though, if we're starting down this path anyway, why stop with organs? Hair can be used to make wigs. Some of the blood can be pumped from the body and used on other people. Bone marrow and spinal fluid can be extracted. Skin can be used for grafts. Bones can be used as fertilizer or glues. Fat can be used to make soaps. The fleshy bits can be ground up and made into food. I'm sure if we put some effort into it, we could probably get rid of pretty much an entire body in usable goods. I mean, the person is dead, right; why would they care?


That's quite the slippery slope arguement. You've mixed in and thus equated some really drastically different things there.

A person who is in favor of saving lives by harvesting portions of a corpse is unlikely to see any valid difference between a liver and some bone marrow (an assumption on my part), so yes, this line of logic follows there. But you have to take into account that the collection of these items from the corpse is considered to be creating distress in the family of the deceased. I advocate this sort of harvesting only because I believe that the grief of another family who are in danger of losing a loved one entirely would be more severe than the grief of the deceased's family, thus making the equation positive for grief prevented. It is likely a safe assumption that the more the corpse is tampered with, the greater the grief of the family. If I want your corpse's lungs you're most likely going to be more upset than if I want a small skin sample from under the left foot. So the equation stops being positive for grief prevented when I move from preventing death (life saving transplants) to cosmetic or frivilous ideas like hair for wigs. Wigs can be made from other material and nobody died of not having a wig. Human hearts don't grow on trees and can't come from healthy living individuals.

Now yes, in an ideal world where persons accept that their loved ones are dead and that the remaining corpses are merely sentimental objects, perhaps everyone would be ok with having the entirity of their remains used for whatever good could come of it, but the fact remains that people are upset when the corpses that were once their loved ones are tampered with, so I only suggest such action when the grief it would prevent is clearly greater.

To be fair I don't see this issue really having a lot of resolution. It appears as though one of the primary confounds is a seperate debate about whether personhood extends after death. One group says "requiring me to do something like this is wrong." to which the other group replies "I'm not requiring you to do anything, you're dead."
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Ouiser » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:47 pm UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:
Now yes, in an ideal world where persons accept that their loved ones are dead and that the remaining corpses are merely sentimental objects, perhaps everyone would be ok with having the entirity of their remains used for whatever good could come of it, but the fact remains that people are upset when the corpses that were once their loved ones are tampered with, so I only suggest such action when the grief it would prevent is clearly greater.


And therein lies the problem. You're still making a judgement call for a family that is already in severe distress (even more so in the case of a young person dying unexpectedly where most viable organs are to be had). I just can't see allowing some agency, no matter how well intentioned, make this kind of decision.

By all means, talk to the family; convince them to donate.

A lot can be discerned from the way a society treats its dead. I'd hate to be in one where they are used like so much raw material without the consent of those involved.

Edit: Grammar.
Last edited by Ouiser on Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:20 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Area Man
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Area Man » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:34 am UTC

It's my worldview and opinion, not religion and not selfishness.
There are many and complex issues to wade through.

An organ donation is a gift. You cannot expect or demand it of anyone.
Today we have the technology to do it, and you should be thankful for that, but that doesn't mean I necessarily agree with the use.

I expect that should I ever be in an accident and bleed out that I will die; and I accept that, and not count on grace.

Still, I am me, whether alive or dead. You can't prove I'm not, just like if I'm asleep or in a coma.

Do you know the meaning of life? how can you deal in absolutes?
Saving a life is not the absolute pinnacle of human endeavor and happiness. It's up there _along_ with others, such as discoveries which help us understand the world and ourselves, passing that along, AND honor after death.

We are not simply automatons, for use by the government (or anyone else) as it pleases for its own benefit.

What is the worth of a human life? what about dignity?
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1337goose
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby 1337goose » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:06 am UTC

Ouiser wrote: Ask me to donate blood and I'll happily do it (and have on many occasions). If I'm no longer free to make that choice, that's when the problem starts.


My interpretation of this statement (correct me if I'm wrong) is that you would donate blood in any situation where one asked it of you. However, you would have a problem were you not given a choice to donate blood, but were obligated to do it. I completely agree with you, assuming that the situation you are forced into is an unpleasant or undesirable one. What I don't understand however, is the importance of choice in a scenario where your choice and the required option are both the same. I don't really get the difference between being choosing option X whenever you are asked, and being forced into option X (assuming it is something you would have chosen regardless, as you have stated that you have happily donated blood on multiple occasions).

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Ouiser » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:14 pm UTC

1337goose wrote:
Ouiser wrote: Ask me to donate blood and I'll happily do it (and have on many occasions). If I'm no longer free to make that choice, that's when the problem starts.


My interpretation of this statement (correct me if I'm wrong) is that you would donate blood in any situation where one asked it of you. However, you would have a problem were you not given a choice to donate blood, but were obligated to do it. I completely agree with you, assuming that the situation you are forced into is an unpleasant or undesirable one. What I don't understand however, is the importance of choice in a scenario where your choice and the required option are both the same. I don't really get the difference between being choosing option X whenever you are asked, and being forced into option X (assuming it is something you would have chosen regardless, as you have stated that you have happily donated blood on multiple occasions).


I've had this discussion on another topic on another forum. I had no luck explaining the difference that time either. I can't understand why you wouldn't be bothered by having a choice removed from your control. The outcome of that choice has nothing to do with it.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby BlackSails » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:29 pm UTC

Most people choose to work somewhere, but I think everyone would be somewhat upset if told that it is now illegal for them to quit.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby General_Norris » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:02 pm UTC

Ouiser wrote:I've had this discussion on another topic on another forum. I had no luck explaining the difference that time either. I can't understand why you wouldn't be bothered by having a choice removed from your control. The outcome of that choice has nothing to do with it.


So if you see someone bleeding on the street, do you think it's fine to ignore him? I guess you disagree with the notion of it being a criminal offense (I don't know the exact wording, crime doesn't seem the good choice). Following your logic, why would we regulate killing and make it something bad? You can't understand why I would be bothered by having a choice removed from my control, the outcome of that choice is irrelevant to you.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Ouiser » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:16 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:
Ouiser wrote:I've had this discussion on another topic on another forum. I had no luck explaining the difference that time either. I can't understand why you wouldn't be bothered by having a choice removed from your control. The outcome of that choice has nothing to do with it.


So if you see someone bleeding on the street, do you think it's fine to ignore him? I guess you disagree with the notion of it being a criminal offense (I don't know the exact wording, crime doesn't seem the good choice). Following your logic, why would we regulate killing and make it something bad? You can't understand why I would be bothered by having a choice removed from my control, the outcome of that choice is irrelevant to you.


As far as I know, it's not a crime to ignore someone bleeding the on the street. Most of the time in these situations, emergency responders would actually encourage you to just call 911 rather than render aid; unless you knew what you were doing (had CPR training, etc).

Edit: I'm not going to bother refuting your strawman attack about murder.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Soralin » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:33 pm UTC

Ouiser wrote:As far as I know, it's not a crime to ignore someone bleeding the on the street. Most of the time in these situations, emergency responders would actually encourage you to just call 911 rather than render aid; unless you knew what you were doing (had CPR training, etc).

Edit: I'm not going to bother refuting your strawman attack about murder.

It is a crime in some locations, in some parts of the US, and in some countries, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_to_rescue

Although just calling 911, or whatever equivalent emergency number, covers that responsibility in most cases.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby General_Norris » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:48 am UTC

Well Ousier, do you think it shouldn't be a crime? Or at least punisable with a fine? Or simply, don't you think there's nothing wrong with refusing rescue?

Also there's no strawman. Your argument can be used to excuse murder. Tell me why punishing murderers is good even though it removes your free will while mandatory blood donation is bad because of the same thing.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Lizzebed » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:27 am UTC

Interesting turn this debat has been taking. But I'm not going to follow it.

I do have a view remarks, in several countires here in the Europian Union an opt-out system exist, in different varieties.
In Belgium, everyone is a donor by default, but it's quite easy to register as a non donor. You can also explicitly register as a donor, and if you didn't register either options, the familiy is consulted upon death.
Whereas in Austria, they are quite hard and they just take the organs without consultation of the family.
A lot of these opt-out countries have larger amounts of donors per 1 million capita.
They do expect the amount of donors in Belgium to go down, due to the inclusion of donation for science in their current system, you can only drop out of donation in general, not just for therapeutic or scientific reasons. Which I found quite odd, but that's because my donorregistration form here in the Netherlands was an endless list of questions and boxes, for every different kind of organ and tissue I could expresses my wishes for a possible future without me. Somehow I always thought this was the same for about every other country.

Though many of these number of donors, can also be largely explained by the larger amount of traffic accidents, and other deaths that leave the organs good for donation. Furthermore a large factor in the amount of donors is the organisation around donortransplantation. Quite often I've heard Spain being mentioned, They have on opt-out system but in every hospital they have one doctor that is specialized in this matter, and handles all of it. When they started this, it caused a big rise in the amount of donors.
Which is two of the reasons as to why Sweden with their opt-out system has quite a low number of donors per capital.

Another important factor is awareness of the matter. in Belgium they were able to raise the amount of donors by giving it a lot of media attention.

That's why in a lot of countries that are currently legislated with opt-in laws, don't go for different legislation. As there are still other ways to raise the amount of donors, without threading into such an emotional and heavy debate about mandatory organdonation.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Mokele » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:23 pm UTC

Somewhat OT, but I've always liked the idea I had of making it legal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet or drive a car without a seatbelt, but doing so constitutes an automatic consent to donate your organs, effectively saying "If you do something stupid and get killed, we use you for spare parts."

Of course, I'm also less concerned with the "rights" aspect of this idea than the fact that I find it funny, but then I have a pretty dark sense of humor.
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Ouiser » Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:16 am UTC

General_Norris wrote:Well Ousier, do you think it shouldn't be a crime? Or at least punisable with a fine? Or simply, don't you think there's nothing wrong with refusing rescue?

Also there's no strawman. Your argument can be used to excuse murder. Tell me why punishing murderers is good even though it removes your free will while mandatory blood donation is bad because of the same thing.


Per the article quoted, it isn't a crime to ignore a complete stranger in trouble. And no, I don't have a problem with that. Please don't confuse this with me saying I wouldn't help. But I think a person needs to be free to make that choice. It would be a shame if I fell to my death trying to pull someone down from the edge for example. That is a situation where I would choose not to aid, since it would put me in danger.

It is a strawman because I'm talking about organ donation/harvesting in this argument, not murder. Besides that, you still have a choice to commit murder, if you're willing to live with the consequences.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Griffin » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:57 am UTC

Really more of an afterthought... for those in favor of a mandatory donation, would you be in support of some sort of penalty if the organs were not viable or in good condition? i.e., if someone smokes, their lungs will obviously not be a good transplant candidate. Same for a drinker's liver, etc...


No, thats stupid. I'm a firm believer people should be able to do whatever they want with/to their body. I don't see how that has anything to do with organ harvesting at all. Once their dead, its not their body anymore, and we can talk about things like mandatory organ harvesting - then and only then.

Basically -
There is no "right to donated organs"

but there ALSO is no right to "other peoples corpses".
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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Vaskafdt » Fri May 20, 2011 5:35 am UTC

in Israel we have an opt in system. I got mine.

people have different standards of morals. some people will risk their life to help a complete stranger, some people will not even spit at a thirsty man. mandatory organ transplants are stupid in my opinion, you basically tell people that they have no choice as to how their body will be treated after death. I also think that people who don't opt in, (or opt out) are not very nice.. but this is just my opinion.

a friend of mine is refusing (on a basis of a squishy filling, not a religious reason) to get his organ donor card. but if you eat meat near him he will give you a two hour lecture about how evil you are.

opt out system, is in my opinion better then the opt in system... as long as the public is well informed that this is the case.

also.. a few pages ago someone mentioned that organ donors in Israel and Iran get precedence over non donors.. never heard of it... at least here in Israel we don't have it. but it sounds like a splendid idea to me.



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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby dunningkruger » Sat May 28, 2011 11:25 pm UTC

Azrael wrote: (...)
Regardless, I think it's a terrible idea. The callousness displayed in decreeing that religion is not a legitimate reason for anything is astounding -- while one can certainly disagree with religion vehemently, you don't get to dictate a secular existence onto anyone anymore than they get to require piety from you.


Religion is not a legitimate reason for having different rights than others. Given that religion is, in essence, a belief held by a person that doesn't need to be justified, it would be strange for it to change your rights compared to the rest of the population that doesn't hold that belief. A great example of this is the Sikh Kirpan (ceremonial dagger), that according to Orthodox Sikhs must be worn at all times. Their belief, that doesn't need to be backed up by evidence obviously conflicts with more practical restrictions in places such as jails or airports, to think of a few. So in most cases rights should not be based on religion but rather religion respected as long as it is within personal rights.

That said, having control over your body seems like a very basic application of property rights. A government wouldn't have much to gain and would be infringing in something very personal according to many people, religious or not.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Beardhammer » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:18 am UTC

Well, since someone else necroed this...

LaserGuy wrote:Frankly though, if we're starting down this path anyway, why stop with organs? Hair can be used to make wigs. Some of the blood can be pumped from the body and used on other people. Bone marrow and spinal fluid can be extracted. Skin can be used for grafts. Bones can be used as fertilizer or glues. Fat can be used to make soaps. The fleshy bits can be ground up and made into food. I'm sure if we put some effort into it, we could probably get rid of pretty much an entire body in usable goods. I mean, the person is dead, right; why would they care?


I know you're being facetious, but I think this is a pretty nifty idea, actually. Hell, what if it turned out humans were the best tasting food? Think maybe I could get into a situation where I'm one of the breeding males with a whole bunch of females? Sounds like pretty slick gig to me ;P

Ouiser wrote:I've had this discussion on another topic on another forum. I had no luck explaining the difference that time either. I can't understand why you wouldn't be bothered by having a choice removed from your control. The outcome of that choice has nothing to do with it.


I guess it's just a lack of concern for individual rights. I tend to favor structure, and if that means giving up personal freedoms, I'm all for it - up to a certain point. Mandatory blood donations wouldn't really work because there are just too many variables, and that's not even counting someone with the shitty luck to have AIDS or whatever.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Sockmonkey » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:29 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:Most people choose to work somewhere, but I think everyone would be somewhat upset if told that it is now illegal for them to quit.
Only applicable if you were forbidden to quit after you die. That's the flaw in most of the comparisons here. You aren't around to need/want whatever is taken when it's taken.

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby ChemistByDayProgrammerByNight » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:31 pm UTC

First of all there is a big problem with mandatory organ donations, and that is that too many people will bitch and complain for whatever reason (rights, religion or simply a eww factor). Instead it should be an Opt-out. I really fail to see a problem with this if it’s structured right. Have it structured so anyone under 18 and the parents have the final say.

You will gain the ability to opt-out once you’re 18 (or get you high school diploma), when you get your license renewed, when you register to vote and do you taxes you ALWAYS have the option of opting out and once you select to opt out from then on, all the documents that would have had the opt out option would instead be to opt back in (in case you come to your senses as you get wiser) and this will also it would double as a yearly check that you have opted out for organ donation.

Once you are dead the organs can be immediately removed in order to preserve the organs not necessarily implant them right away into another patient. This will allow time to double check if the person has not opted out and allows the family to veto the wishes of the deceased.

Also have the system set up in such a way that once people go on the list to receive organs they become mandatory donors themselves (this cannot be over turned) hey it’s only fair right, you take out of the system you put back in.

People that violated other people’s rights (murder, rape and molestation) have to become mandatory donors (also cannot be undone, well unless you’re proven not guilty later on). “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”- Ghandi, Bullshit, it will now give the innocent blind people back their sight.

If it’s set up like this all those that want their organs to themselves and don’t want to receive any organs can rot or burn (buried or cremated respectively) if they wish to do so. It also allows some sort of social repayment for those bad criminals (sure they molested or killed someone, but hey now his or her organs are up for donations). And it still gives families one last time to rebel against what their elders stated when they were still alive (f*** you dad, you go to hell with all your organs). And those that either wanted organs, wanted to give their organs or didn’t care either way have their organs properly used to help out others.

And to make myself clear the criminals are not killed for their organs. The organs are only harvested after they die naturally (except those that are executed [murders] or savagely beaten to death [rapist and molesters] by other prisoners).

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Azrael » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:47 pm UTC

ChemistByDayProgrammerByNight wrote:Once you are dead the organs can be immediately removed in order to preserve the organs not necessarily implant them right away into another patient. This will allow time to double check if the person has not opted out and allows the family to veto the wishes of the deceased.

... even if your organs aren't a match for someone? There are quite a few logistical realities that make your harvest-by-default stance impractical; the combination of donor vitality, local-enough need, surgical resources, the ability to get several transplantees lined up. The list goes on.

Not every liver within recently-deceased cadavers can actually get put to use, even if by some circumstance the need actually existed (i.e. 17k people on the list in the US right now and something like 2.4 million people die each year).

Also, there's the part about the family veto only coming after they've already been harvested? What, you'd just put them back and sew them up, call it good-as-it-was? Think of the dramatic waste of resources, never mind that you're still running rough-shod over one of the major reasons why the next of kin might object.

People that violated other people’s rights (murder, rape and molestation) have to become mandatory donors (also cannot be undone, well unless you’re proven not guilty later on).
Aaaand we're back to the whole "criminals aren't people bit". This has been covered at great length here already, and it's bullshit. Plus, good luck convincing any developed-world court system that the no-opt-out clause isn't cruel and unusual punishment. I'm also a bit confused that you seem to think that the only crimes that violate people's rights are the big ones -- murder, rape, molestation.

I have no problem with opt-out (and I don't recall that anyone else has voiced such a hesitation either), but you realize that you're not setting up an opt-out system, right?

dunningkruger wrote:
Azrael wrote: (...)Regardless, I think it's a terrible idea. The callousness displayed in decreeing that religion is not a legitimate reason for anything is astounding -- while one can certainly disagree with religion vehemently, you don't get to dictate a secular existence onto anyone anymore than they get to require piety from you.

Religion is not a legitimate reason for having different rights than others.
Just like I said way back when, you don't get to enforce a secular existence on someone. That's the polar opposite of what freedom of religion means -- it's not the religious person having some 'new', 'different' or 'additional' right, it's allowing them the freedom to express the same rights everyone else has too.

Certainly, your religious rights (i.e. carrying a dagger) can be curtailed when they conflict with other people's rights (i.e. safety), but are you really suggesting that Needs-A-Transplate-Person A has a right to Recently-Dead-Person B's organs? Otherwise there's no conflict, no ability to suppress their religious rights. And the answer to that question is a biiiiiig old 'no' to me.

(Although if you answer yes, then you've passed the litmus test to support mandatory donation and the rest of the discussion is probably moot)

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Re: Mandatory Organ Donation

Postby Wodashin » Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:00 am UTC

If we implement mandatory organ donation, I don't see why you wouldn't also enact a kidney draft of sorts. It seems like the same mentality and justifications. Most people don't need both, and if the government had previously taken out one of your kidneys and your other one is failing, well, the system would be there for you. Younger people would typically give to the older. It'd be like Social Security, but with organs. Probably sustainable. If the risks are low enough, there'd be no reason to argue against it, aside from selfishness or whatever people say the illegitimate reasons are. Obviously only those fit enough for it would be drafted. There could be mandatory blood donations too for those the government sees fit to take. Mandatory sperm donations from young men that fit the bill. Mandatory egg donations from young women that fit the bill. Hair drafts where you could get called in to have your hair shaved off to be made into wigs for people going through chemotherapy or something.


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