Friday, December 4, 2009

Keep Your Laws Off of My Body... Unless...

Here's a good one. I just found this out a short time ago. In 1984, Al Gore helped rush the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 into law. That law makes it illegal for anyone to offer one of their organs, most notably, one of their kidneys to another person in return for any kind of payment.

OK, so here is a law established by the Federal Government that is designed to tell you what you can do with your own literal physical body. The law, proponents state, helps to "protect" poor people from "exploitation." Apparently, according to this mindset, if you make under a certain number of dollars per year, you are categorized as too stupid to make decisions for your own well-being and thus, the government needs to do this for you.

What's absolutely unfathomably absurd about this law is that it was sponsored by Al Gore, one of the leading political pro-abortionists of the last 20 years, a man who has actively worked to protect a woman's choice of whether or not to kill a living person in their wombs.

Kill your unborn kid? Hey, it's your choice and the government shouldn't have any say.
Sell your kidney? Hey, you can't do that. It's unethical.



cemeteryconsort said...

I believe the big difference is money. You can donate your kidney at any time, you can donate other parts of your body too, your marrow, etc. If you take a quick look at what goes on in India to desperatly poor people, you can understand the reasoning. You could say that it's not right that people sell blood and sperm, but cant sell kidneys. I think that makes more sense.
Human fetal tissue is sometimes used for stuff too I think, so like when you donate blood and the Red Cross makes a killing off it, when you get an abortion, your fetus might be sold for something. I'm not sure on this exactly, but it's something to think about. When should you be compensated for your body parts, and when cant you be?
I think if women were selling their aborted fetes, then you would have a comparable idea.

Genie of the Shell said...

Hmmm, yes, I think Consort has it. The difference is that there is no monetary incentive to donate an organ or have an abortion, so nobody is encouraged to make those medical decisions to make a quick buck. There is a difference between calling someone stupid and recognizing that someone could be made vulnerable by a dangerous policy.

If we could sell our organs and unborn for money--if there was a monetary value attached to our body parts or fetuses--then maybe we could be taxed on them! Or the government or corporations could repossess our organs when we owed money! And then "Repo the Genetic Opera" would become a reality, and Paris Hilton would wander the streets trying to sing. Thus, the apocalypse would ensue.

Nice Geiger pic.

Genie of the Shell said...

Selling blood and sperm and eggs is a weird gray area. I think you can only get paid for plasma, not straight up blood. When you donate plasma, they put the rest of the blood back in you. So I think the idea is that you can sell the bodily secretions that it won't hurt you to give away, but our economic system can't give people an incentive to harm themselves or their unborn for money. So, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with abortion rights, it is not morally inconsistent to be pro-choice and anti-organ sales. The legality of having surgery for money vs. having surgery for medical reasons are apples and oranges, ethically.

Gleno said...

I've read and re-read your responses to this post and I am still struggling to understand your viewpoints in light of what I've stated in the post.

In essence, you seem to agree that (1) poor people should not be afforded the right to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies and that (2) the bodies of babies who were aborted are/may be sold by the doctors/organizations that were paid to perform the procedure that killed them.

Let me pose the question once again: If it's legal for a woman to decide to have her unborn baby killed and removed from her body, why is she not allowed to sell an organ?

People can currently sell hair, blood and/or plasma, sperm, etc. What justifies government intervention in this other area?

cemeteryconsort said...

Is there any instance when a woman can sell her unborn baby? Is there anyone who pays women to get abortions? Literally give you money for coming in and getting an abortion?
If there is, you have an argument for comparison. If not, then it comes down to people not selling body parts.
You might ask why it's ok to sell sperm but not organs. Or for that matter fetal tissue. That's a different thing.

You are comparing "you cant sell" and "you are charged for the removal of".

cemeteryconsort said...

Lets look at it this way. The government lets you get an abortion because it's something that affects your life. Forcing you to have a baby drastically can alter your life or health. So you can choose to have that thing inside you taken out of your body. You don't get paid, in fact you have to pay to have it done (or your insurance does).
Now, if you have an organ that you don't want or for that matter, an ingrown toenail, you can also get it removed. The government lets you make that decision.

What the government doesn't let you do in the case of organ transplant is let you sell your good healthy organ for money. I think you could make a comparison between this and say sperm or blood, but the difference there (on further thought) is that you can produce more blood, sperm, marrow, or even eggs where as you cannot re-grow another kidney or eye.
Now, if the government lets you sell your skin, or any other body parts that you can re grow, I guess you could argue that you SHOULD be able to sell a fetus, as you can make more. But the government is apparently keeping you from making money from something you actually might need in the future. Like a kidney. I'm not sure what other organs you could sell, other than skin.

Then there is the whole thought that if organs were something to be sold, how long before people are killed to get money for their parts, by third parties?

Which might bring us back to abortion, and third party decisions, or second at least. At which time I would say that you can have a tape worm or ring worm removed if you don't want it. And an unwanted pregnancy is just that, a parasite. Living off your body until it can jettison itself to start out on it's own.

So, did we answer anything? Or are we going to try to make it legal to fetuses?

Gleno said...

I never made any comparison between selling a kidney and selling the body of an aborted baby. My comparison was limited to the demand for "choice" in being able to choose abortion and the logical extention of being afforded choice in the disposition of one's own organ's.

One might easily argue that the government ought to curtail a woman's ability to choose an abortion because the abortion affects another human life. Choosing to sell a kidney has no such impact. However, the former is legal and the latter is not.

Your latest post goes further to explain your position and I appreciate that. In it, you underscore what it is that I am so opposed to: namely that the government is stepping in, curtailing your freedoms in order to protect you from yourself. The other argument, that legalized selling of kidneys might lead to crimes of kidney stealing makes as much sense as outlawing anything of value because it might be stolen. In looking into this issue, I've seen that argument several times. It's specious at best, and it represents the over-stepping of government authority at worst.

And that's my point. No where in our Constitution is the Federal government allocated the right to protect me from me. This notion of government as "mommy" is a recent phenomenon in the last 40 years that has come about as we have increasingly moved toward socialism and the welfare state.

It's difficult for me to hear that you being a mother can view a baby as a parasite. A parasite is something that invades another living organism of its own volition. It is not the natural or "correct" state of things to carry a tapeworm or a tick. However, the biological process of creating a baby is something that is initiated by the parents. There is nothing more natural than for that baby to be there. It is our very process of procreation.

If one is to define a baby as a parasite, at what point does it cease being a parasite? When it is old enough to work for money to provide it's own food? When it graduates college?

cemeteryconsort said...

You really ask the tough questions Glen. When DOES a child sease to be a parasite? I think that definitions or time period has also evolved and changed much like the nanny state has over the years.
College might be too early. Perhaps early 30's?
I think 200 years ago it might have been around the age or 5-7. Then later 100 years ago, perhaps 10 to 13. In the 40's it might have been around 16-18. Now.... well, like I said... it's hard to say.

All joking aside, a fetus is much like a parasite. It lives off the nourishment of the mother, it's a foreign body.
Before I became a mother, and after, I will always defend a woman's right not to carry a fetus to term. I cant know every woman's reasons for not wanting to bear a child. Because of that, I give her the free will to determine her life's course. If it kills the fetus, her yet to be born baby, sorry, thems the breaks. Fetuses are spontaneously aborted (because they are foreign bodies, like a parasite) all the time. If a woman chooses to give a baby up for adoption after going through nine months of biologic and emotional turmoil, more power to her.
Let's pause here and ask if you can sell that baby. Just to throw in a wrench? I mean, why not? I guess because you can't buy and sell people. Hrrrmmm, can you buy it before it's born? When it's a non person? Interesting thought.

The answer again is that you can choose to do what you want with your body parts, but you cant choose to SELL those body parts. Why? because it's been deemed unethical because selling of body parts leads to poor people being abused. I think that exact argument is actually used against Planned Parenthood because they 'prey' on the poor and ignorant who get pregnant, have no health care, and need abortions. On the other side is the 'Church' who 'preys' on the poor and tells the to have the fifty million babies so they will remain poor and ignorant.

What exactly is the role of the government? Is it to protect the weak? Promote the general welfare? Insure the blessings of liberty? What does all that mean? Start another thread on that. What is the role of the Government? Why for do we pay so much in taxes?

cemeteryconsort said...

And there are parasites that are beneficial to the host. They aren't called parasites, I forget the term. Symbiotic? But the idea is the same, they live off the host, but do no harm or even benefit it. Considering that a pregnancy can lead to the death of the mother for various reasons, I don't think parasite is out of the question for definition.

Gleno said...

So the bottom line is that the poor people have to be protected by the government from their own decisions. Liberty and freedoms in this case are curtailed in order to "help" the poor.

I understand and accept that this is the reason for this law. I hope you, the reader, can understand why I find that reasoning obscenely offensive and an outright immoral and unconstitutional attack on our rights as human beings.

As a side note, here is an examination of the issue of fetuses as parasites:

cemeteryconsort said...

Well, here's a question. Can someone sell themselves into slavery, or is this something the government should stop. It's quite literally a person's use of their own body. Should that be allowed, or should we (the government) protect people from making this decision? Just wondering.

And yes, the government protects the poor because they cant protect themselves... because they are poor. Rich people have money, lawyers, access to information. They don't need to sell their organs for a buck to feed their kids. Poor people have few options, are often under-educated, not served by a team of lawyers, and can use someone to speak up for them. Not that the government always does a good job, but a rich guy needing a liver might not be so kind either.

Gleno said...

If the government exists to protect us from ourselves, they own us.

Genie of the Shell said...

The government owns the currency we use, so they get to make the rules on what we can buy with it.

I suppose there is nothing stopping you from trading your kidney to a buddy for his car or something. Go for it, cowboy. You'll have a hard time getting someone to cut it out of you, though, because doctors take an oath not to cut their patients open and pull out healthy organs for no medical reason.

I really don't want to raise my kids in a country where in addition to stripping to pay for college, selling body parts is considered a legitimate option for payment for goods or services.

If something is legal, a person (especially someone in a desperate or vulnerable situation) can be coerced into doing it. So a law forbidding organ sales (like laws forbidding prostitution) is in place to protect people from others in power positions over them, not from themselves.

I know you don't like that idea, though. There is always a tension between protecting vulnerable people and letting non-vulnerable people do whatever they feel like. Freedom is a complex issue because we are all interconnected. Government leaders are always trying to balance freedoms TO DO stuff with freedoms FROM various kinds of oppression and victimization. We are not free if we live in a nation where it is legal for more powerful people and entities to oppress us. That's why anarchy doesn't ever work out so hot.