09 July 2008

Regulate, not ban, the sale of human organs

The current law that criminalises the sale of human organs creates moral unease when it is used to prosecute the already desperate. Time for a policy rethink. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

From her comment "risks versus their potential returns before they embark on any life-changing decisions. Taking the choice out of their hands in the name of protecting them is paternalistic and patronising" ...

Do you think the same sort of argument could apply to the use of illicit drugs? Should people who are informed about the risks of using drugs (or cigarettes, or alcohol) be prevented from using them by a patronising/paternalistic government?

Anonymous said...

Great idea.

The problem is should we have Ministar "means testing" Khaw or Ministar "Cut Road Tax (on the rich's 2nd/3rd/4th Mercedes), Increase ERP" Raymond or Ministar "Market Subsidy" Mah to regulate?

Maybe they can form a committee with Ho ching as consultant.


Anonymous said...

I wonder why are the sellers so swiftly charged and sentenced while there is little mention of the Buyer? The Buyer should be swiftly charged as well, he has also broken the law!

Sale of Organ should definitely be look into as an option, but its a can of worms. Lots of work needs to bedone to make it happen right. Seriously how do we price the organ?

There's also another question, whose body is it anyway? The governments or mine? It should be up to me to give or sell my organs while living or in death (my family acting on my behalf in my death?)...anyway its a can of worms!!!

IMHO, religion is a personal thing, and government policies must not be made with interference from religious bodies.

Anonymous said...

Your opening para is sweeping. The views against the sale of human organs aren't just pseudo religious ones and you do mention the exploitation of the poor but question that argument. Rather than being paternalistic and patronising, preventing the sale of non-regenerative organs from living human beings keeps society at a minimum level of "civilisation" (for want of a better word). This is just as society no longer permits slavery even where both parties are willing.

Another non-religious concern is the squeezing out of potential recipients that are poor from the organ market. Sale of organs after death seems perfectly fine except that I recall a gory scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (live organ donation).

Anonymous said...

Private contracts and jumping Q must be forbidden => requires totally anonymous Qs.

Many countries prevent collection of organ from live donors.

If we were to allow collection from live donors, where do we put the price of a Kidney, an arm, a hand?
If the price is right people will give an eye...

Anonymous said...

The problem with Spore's million dollar ministers is their preoccupation with the "small" issues rather than the "big" picture. Also, the bulk of the cabinet is overwhelmingly Christians - here lies the paradox. Just as the unwillingness to repeal S377A was probably due to Christian dogma, likewise the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA)regarding the sale (trafficking) of human organs will be dictated by Christian dogma.
It is a joke that Spore pays its Ministers millions of dollars to make good social and economic decisions for the nation, yet, the same ministers hide behind religious dogma for their (non) decisions.
The law changes when there is a personal issue involved. A relative once told me that Sporeans & Spore PRs can enrol their children in International Schools since 2003. I was surprised as I knew for years that International Schools were off-limits to locals. He told me a simple truth - Lee Hsien Yang's son was having problems with 2nd language. LHY decided to enrol his son in the International School. Of course, this was duly allowed with the govt's blessing - however, other Sporeans heard about it & demanded the same privilige. This was quietly done to avoid embarrassing the government and the Lee family.
Likewise, the ban on sale of human organs will be repeal only if it involves the government & special interest groups.
The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) is grounded in religious dogma rather than pragmatic sense. This legislation was made without much thought or ideas. This is a problem with a non-representative government. Similar to censorship & the ban on pornography legislation - in today's internet age - how do you stop the downloading of offensive material? You can't! Pretty soon, the marketplace will determined exchange of human organs between those that need it & those that are willing to sell. I dare predict that Thailand will be the next centre for human organs exchange & transplants given it's looser morals issues, no religious hang-ups & capitalist pragmatism.
At the end, the Spore govt is just regulating itself to irrelevance in the real world! They are making a joke of themselves with their million dollar salaries without any impact in terms of governance. Why bother!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mr Au!
Ministar "means testing and scarcity of medical resource is good" Khaw has spoken. "Do not rule out organ trade". your good name will forever be associated with support for organ trade.

I'm betting that the lower class singaporeans(aka easy targets) can look forward to getting it up their ar$e. (Sorry, cant resist).

I guess there is no shame being a source of "good quality" body parts :-)

and should some rich dude needs his parts fresh(i.e like high quality sashimi, slice the fish\octopus while still alive) .. woohoo ... windfall (taxable of course)! Win-Win!

1. Christians do not worship Mammon.

2. HDB, CPF, even NS was started with the best of intentions.


Anonymous said...

at first ah khaw said this is not right thing to do, ie ah tang buying organ and must be dealt with.

however during round table meeting, self interest came to mind, what happen if it were to happen to one of us in this round table, in urgent need of an organ like ah tang.

we are also rich with money like ah tang but cannot find organ? so ah khaw you must make another press release to said organ buying need to looked into carefully.