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Scott Jagow: You’ve probably heard horror stories about people being kidnapped, and waking up to find one of their kidneys had been removed. The Cato Institute in Washington says there’s a way to snuff out the black market for kidneys: legalize the sale of human organs.
Cato makes its case at a forum today. Here’s Nancy Marshall Genzer.
Nancy Marshall Genzer: Diabetes is on the rise. The disease eventually destroys kidneys. Waiting lists for scarce kidney transplants are growing.
Cato’s Sigrid Fry-Revere says legal kidney sales would solve the problem. Donors can live on just one kidney. Fry-Revere says the selling process would be tightly regulated.
Sigrid Fry-Revere: The government can decide, you need to have informed consent.
But some bioethicists argues that poor donors would be taken advantage of. Instead, they favor a system called presumed consent. After you die, your organs would be harvested automatically, unless you’d specified otherwise.
But Fry-Revere says we shouldn’t have to give away a valuable body part that will eventually be sold.
Fry-Revere: And then the companies that transform it into useable, medical material, make a killing.
The President’s Council on Bioethics is now studying the ethical issues involved in the organ shortage.
In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.
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