Robbing the Dead Is Organ Conscription Ethical





Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical
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Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical
The issue of organ donation is a significant matter in many countries, especially since organ transplants can save hundreds of lives. However, there is usually a shortage of supply of human organs, yet the number of people in need of organ transplants is high. In the United States, 22 people die every day while on the waiting list of patients in need of organ transplants (United Network for Organ Sharing, 2021). Even though organ transplants are beneficial to many people, there are still many ethical issues that must be considered. the removal of all usable organs from a recently dead persons body to make the organs available for transplantation. Just because organ transcription improves organ availability does not mean it is ethically justified. This paper will discuss the ethical issues in organ conscription to determine whether the practice is ethical or not. Ethical issues include consent, autonomy, human dignity, and value. Additionally, the paper will discuss one ethical theory that supports organ conscription and its limitations.
One of the main ethical issues in organ conscription has to do with consent. Ethics dictate that an individual must give permission for organs to be taken out of their bodies. This means that before a person dies, they must consent to have their organs removed and availed to those needing transplantation (Prabhu, 2019). However, this is not always the case. Organ conscription does not consider the deceased individuals right to consent for their organs to be removed. Under conscription, consent is neither required nor requested. Once a person dies, their bodies are opened up, and usable organs are removed. This practice is unethical because it violates the right of an individual to consent to the removal of their organs.
Additionally, organ conscription leads to loss of autonomy. Americans have a strong belief in a persons freedom and autonomy. Organ constriction denies this autonomy since it removes the deceased persons body organs without considering what the person wanted. The practice limits freedom of choice and may interfere with the dead persons final wishes. This is especially the case when the deceased person did not consent to have their organs removed. For instance, in some communities, the dead are taken through several traditional practices to cleanse their bodies before releasing them into the world of the dead. Mandatory conscription of individuals from these communities interferes with their burial process, and the individuals may have to be buried immediately without performing the death rituals. Thus, organ constriction is unethical because it violates an individuals right to autonomy.
Another ethical reason why organ conscription is wrong is the fear that human dignity and value would be degraded if human organs could be sold (Levin, 2017). The commodification of human organs indicates that a dead body is no longer a valueless object but has become a property with interests and rights. Moreover, organ transcription involves selling organs, and the practice inherently risks promoting the idea that some people have worth less while others have more and have a price. The danger of selling human body parts is that it can promote human killings to make profits by selling their organs. Thus, turning the human body into a commodity diminishes the value of human life.
Also, organ conscription raises the question of fairness and justice in the distribution of organs for transplantation. Ethics demand that resources should be distributed in a fair and just manner among the people. Therefore, body organs must be distributed fairly and justly. So, what criteria are used to ensure that human organs are distributed fairly and justly? This is a question that many have failed to answer. Most times, organs are given to those who can afford the transplant, while the poor are put at the end of the waiting list. People with authority or influence are always prioritized for organ transplants. In some institutions, the criteria used is the cause of organ failure. Patients whose organs have failed because of illness may be prioritized over those whose organs have failed because of alcohol abuse or HIV/AIDS. These practices show a lack of fairness and justice in organ transplants. This makes the whole practice of organ transcription ethically questionable, with many people regarding it as wrong.
One ethical theory that supports organ conscription is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that uses the outcome of an action to determine whether the action is right or wrong. According to the theory, the most ethical action is the one that will produce the greatest good for most people. Many people use utilitarianism to justify organ conscription. Applying the theory to organ conscription would suggest that organ conscription is ethically correct because many people who would have died without an organ transplant get to live. Additionally, no harm comes to the dead person because organs have been taken out of his body.
However, applying utilitarianism to organ constrictions has its limitations and challenges. For instance, the theory does not account for justice and individual rights. Suppose a hospital had four patients waiting to receive organ transplants (heart, lungs, kidney, and liver), and a healthy individual walked into the hospital. In that case, utilitarianism dictates that the healthy persons organs should be harvested and used to save the four waiting patients at the expense of the healthy person. This action would produce the greatest good, but most people would be against it. Thus, utilitarianism does not stand in support of organ conscription.
It is clear that many lives can be saved through organ conscription. However, there are many ethical issues associated with organ conscription that causes the practice to be met with a lot of resistance. These ethical issues include consent, autonomy, human dignity, and value. The theory of utilitarianism fails to support organ conscription because it cannot account for values such as justice and individual rights. Thus, it can be concluded that organ conscription is ethically wrong.










Levin,S.B. (2017). Why organ conscription should be off the table: Extrapolation from Heideggers being and time.Sophia,58(2), 153-174. doi:10.1007/s11841-017-0589-6
Prabhu, P. K. (2019). Is presumed consent an ethically acceptable way of obtaining organs for transplant?Journal of the Intensive Care Society,20(2), 9297.
United Network for Organ Sharing. (2021, September 15). Data. Retrieved from


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