We'll Take Your Organs, But You Can't Sell Them


New York legislator with a personal understanding of the great need for more efficient and organ-rich organ exchange markets answers the call with a bill that makes drivers license organ-giving declaration the default (requiring active opt-out) rather than an opt-in option. Details from AP via the Star-Telegram.

Not so strangely at all given the weird animus against markets surrounding the organ issue, he does not propose a bill that would help move toward legalizing the sale of organs, which actually would help even out supply and demand. (Would such a bill work on the state level in the face of federal laws against the practice? I haven't done the legal research, but let's try to pass one and find out.)

Kerry Howley's March 2007 Reason magazine classic on why you should be able to sell your own organs and tissues.

Link via the great Rational Review.

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  1. How about anyone who signs the doner card gets basic funeral on the house?

    You have to sign the card when you are 40 and it’s irrevokable.

    Any takers?

    1. Maryland has something like that if you donate your body to science.

    2. Over my dead…oh, right.

  2. I’m a heavy smoker and drinker. I feel so vindicated.

  3. I wonder when this will become reality. If Obama gets a second term, maybe.

  4. B-b-b-b-but the poor will sell organs they need. It’s explooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiitaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatiiiiiiiiooooooooooooon. /liberal whine

    1. It’s true. And us top hatted and monocled libertarians would get livers from the third world just to try human pate, no doubt.

      What really makes these laws stupid is that they also cover bone marrow and liver lobe transplants, both of which regenerate. Admittedly, the liver surgery is rather risky, but to my mind, that’s all the more reason to allow payment.

      Also, why are people allowed to get paid for plasma donations? Just to increase the hypocrisy and irony?

      1. Yo Pen, this is totally off topic, but if John comes around can you tease him mercilessly? I’ll get him later but now I have to study, gotta strike while the irons hot. As his Capitols have just been eliminated by a bunch of dirty Canadiens. Looks like the geico caveman will be golfing early this year.

        And, furthermore,,,Wooo!

        1. No shit? I wasn’t even following that series, because I thought the Habs would get it handed to them.

          I’ll let him know he can feel good that at least the Penguins aren’t going to beat the Caps again…

          1. Yeah, they just lost. Caps had a power play for the last 1:40, and pulled
            Varmolov, nothin doin…final score 2-1, Habs.

            Analytical chemistry final tomorrow morning, so I’m outty 5k bitches.

            1. Oh, I forgot to add something on topic.

              I know this isn’t craigslist but I have the most wonderful, slightly used, rock hard liver that I’m trying to sell. If you guys know anybody lookin’, I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin, well yeah, I know it is illegal.

              but hey…if for shits and giggles someone wanted to hypothetically negotiate a price, ya know just for umm…fun, sure that’s it, the e-mail linked to this comment would not be unresponsive…see ya

              *waits for feds* whee

              1. Fucking shit, just because I misspell my own handle does not mean capital is spelled capitol. Oh goddamn, my mind is fucking mush someone please buy my fucking liver.

                1. I may be able to help you cap l. I personally see no problem with adults selling organs, especially kidneys. Women sell their viable eggs for money, and I don’t see any problem with that. There are people willing to pay good money for IVF/ZIFF in the hopes of having a child. Men sell their sperm all the time for the same purpose.

                  Granted the risk is much higher for a kidney donation, but with any invasive surgical procedure there are risks and nephrectomies with transplant are pretty standard procedures with high success rates. That said, I see no ethical problem here.

                  I would also have no problem with proceeds of the sale of harvested organs being bequeathed to heirs as part of an inheritance.

                  1. *disclaimer: the opinions expressed in the preceeding post were mine. However, the reamrk of “I may be able to help you out cap l” was strictly in jest.

                    1. Bolivia?

                  2. I would also have no problem with proceeds of the sale of harvested organs being bequeathed to heirs as part of an inheritance.

                    Ditto, another option would be you get paid when you sign up to allow organ harvesting at death. Based on age/health/etc you would get the appropriate amount. Probably your way would is more practical, but the other allows the organ owner to enjoy the rewards.

        2. I’ve been a Caps fan all my life.

          My folks had season tickets the inaugural season, I grew up rooting for Dennis Maruk.

          I’ve been waiting for this for 35 years…

          It isn’t over. Cindy Crosby is still a douchebag, and next year the Caps will be as good as every.

          Halak was amazing this series… He allowed like 2 goals in the last 9 some saves? He’s a friggin’ robot.

          1. Should have been “as good as ever” and “2 goals in the last 91 saves”, but you knew that.

            1. Yeah, I should have been paying attention. The goalkeeper is like the pitcher in baseball. A really good one can mean the difference in a so-so team beating a much better one. If Halak stays hot, they may have a chance against the Pens.

              And sorry, Ken, but I hate pretty much everything connected with D.C. The only reason I don’t hate the Redskins is that they are in the same division as the Cowboys.

          2. If you would of offered to bet me $1000 that the Habs would take the series two weeks ago I would have taken the bet and figured you for a sucker.

            The thing is, Boudreau doesn’t seem to adjust his methods during the playoffs. I mean, you have seven games to tweak things and in his arrogance he tweaks nary a thing. Caps get some decent coaches, people who coach for the playoffs, and you’ll have your elusive cup.

            I don’t usually rag on people who’s team just lost, but I make two exceptions; John and Flyers fans. John was real douchy earlier this year so fuck him. Ken you seem like you have been watching hockey awhile, and know your shit, so my condolences.

          3. The Penguins are going to win the Stanley Cup again.

            1. Even if they do? Cindy Crosby will still be a douchebag.

              …and that was supposed to be spelled “Cindy”.

          4. So next year the Caps won’t make the Stanley Cup Finals yet again?

            1. Dah dum, Dah DUM. The Red Wings are still around and I know the rest of the NHL fears the winged wheel.

      2. People sell their hair. Poor people. To vain rich people. It’s exploitation for sure.

      3. Technically, they don’t pay for plasma donations. You’re donating the plasma, and they pay you for your time. Technically.

        1. They could do the same thing with organ donation, though the surgeon might be pissed that the guy laying on the table is making $5k an hour.

    2. B-b-b-b-but we have to use socialism to pay to keep brain dead people alive but screw people who can have a life, let them die, that is the GOP way. Republicans will spend billions to keep one brain dead vegetable alive, but to give healthcare to a recently unemployed mom to save her from cureable cancer is a sin of the highest kind to the Neocon God, David Koresh.

  5. Wow, thats pretty insane dude. I mean seriously.


    1. Up yours, Lou!

  6. I have to admit I find the idea of an organ market pretty creepy.

    I find the suggestion that all my organs belong to the state even creepier though.

    Kinda strikes right at the heart of Rothbardian Self-Ownership though, doesn’t it? I never thought I’d see a true polar opposite of that self-ownership proposed, but I guess this is the form it would have to take.

    Has anyone else seen and remember the first episode of Lexx?

    1. God, I hated Lexx. I don’t even remember why.

      1. It wasn’t a series you could just jump into the middle of, and the pilot was awful in terms of the production value…

        But if you ever get a chance to watch the first and second seasons on DVD…

        Organ donation plays a big part at the beginning too.

        1. The episode with the astronauts from the planet Potatoho is on Shultz’s List of the Ten Best Episodes of Anything Ever on Television!


        2. I worship his shadow.

          And you have to love Tim Curry, Malcolm McDowell, and Rutger Hauer slumming for paychecks in the first series. Also, I loved the appearance of the main guy from Red Dwarf in Season 4, and half of the episodes have John Dunsworth in bit parts, i.e. Jim Lahey from Trailer Park Boys.

          Actually, the majority of the episodes are now available on Hulu, for those of you who like small screens, and have lots of bandwidth.

      2. I know why I loved it. It has everything to do with an Eva Habermann spread in a Playboy from Germany.

    2. If the state doesn’t own your organs after you die, who does? Certainly not you. How much did they pay you for being a brain donor?

      1. Yeah, obviously, anybody who gets creeped out thinking about the state owning their organs is an idiot.

        Or perfectly normal.

        One of the two.

        And just for the record, any of my property the state takes after I die is stolen.

      2. My estate, which belongs to whomever I designate.

      3. “How much did they pay you for being a brain donor?”

        They can pay my wife and kids who will sell off my cryogenically frozen corpse piece by piece to cover the inevitable death tax imposed on them.

        1. I didn’t get shit.

  7. Just to increase the hypocrisy and irony?

    What have you got against hypocricy you philistine?

    I mean, without hypocritical grandstanding how could politicians protect their phony baloney jobs?

  8. NY says : “all you kidneys are belong to us”

  9. It is morally wrong to put a value on human life… unless you’re a state’s AG and you’ve got a chance to loot Phillip Morris.

  10. What happened to the Roe v Wade rationale of ” owning your own body?”

    1. I always thought “You can’t tell me what to do with my body” was the most bullshit argument a leftist could make. Their entire agenda is pretty much nothing but telling you what you must or can’t say, eat, drink,smoke,dig,drive,hunt,fish,build,hire,fire,spend,etc.
      But suddenly if it’s abortion we’re talking about, how dare you tell me what I can do.

      1. New York should just seize organs through eminent domain.

        1. Don’t give them any ideas…

      2. And the irony of that is that it’s not JUST their body we’re talking about. After all, DNA demonstrably proves there’s another body involved – one that exists as a result of irresponsibility on the part of the woman (in most cases). Which, in a certain light means that what they’re really shooting for is the right to pile murder on top of irresponsibility and call it all a moral good. I know: they might have human DNA, but they’re not human beings.

        What’s that? You can prove human but you can’t even begin to prove being-ness? Yeah, well, whatever.

        1. But those poor women had dreams of selling shitty art in SOHO while welching off of Federal “art” subsidies! Why can’t you let them live their lives of leisure? WHY? You monster!

  11. Remember how ‘Liquidate’ was originally an economic term for an owner transforming an asset into ‘liquid’ cash since he thought he had better use for the money elsewhere.

    Consistent and frequent use by Lenin of ‘Likvidirovat’ meaning settling accounts as a equphemism for ‘murder’ then spread over the world until it mostly crowded out the previous meaning.

    I wonder what euphemism they will sieze on next? Perhaps ‘Realize’? ‘The government thinks Barney Frank would make a better use of your liver. Your potential value will therefore be realized.’

    Given that a government owns the bodies of all inhabitants, who can protest if they think some peoples, say Armenians (to take a totally random example… NOT!), bones are of better use as fertilizer than as inside their bodies?

    The death of the individual is supposedly a totally incidental side effect, and there will no doubt be hordes of useful bioethicists on hand to declare that ‘the science is settled’ that ‘the self is an illusion’.

    An “Abyss of new Dark Age made more sinister… by the lights of perverted science.”

    1. Repurpose.

  12. This is the inevitable result of “libertarian paternalism”. The most bullshit idea ever invented.

  13. What about people who don’t have driver’s licenses? Are they just assumed to consent? What about religious objections? This doesn;t seem well thought out. It’s like he just made something to ensure his daughter would have a steady supply. And where are the pictures of her? Is she hot? That could make this decision a lot easier.

  14. I will check the box to DONATE the day it becomes legal for me to SELL my organs.

  15. Everybody in the whole damned organ transplant system makes money on it except the donor’s family. That’s kinda, y’know, fucked up.

    BTW, I’m a donor. It’s on my license because I wanted it to be. As far as I’m concerned, they can ground up what’s left for dog food. However, if nonsense like this passed in Michigan (pay attention Jenny), I’d opt right the hell out of the system.

    1. Yeah, my license is up for renewal this December, and I live in NY, so I damn sure will be looking for that opt-out box. A “GO FUCK YOURSELF” checkbox would come in handy too.

    2. I’m not a donor. If I’m ever in emergency surgery for some catastrophic injury or something, I don’t want to give the doctors any incentive to, you know, not do everything they can to save me.

  16. Can’t imagine what could possibly go wrong with the idea that human bodies could be sold for profit.

    1. Hell, even if you just rent them, you can get into trouble!

      1. …but as long as you’re connected, like me, it won’t be very much trouble.

    2. I think I’d rather have someone desperate and down on their luck sell part of his liver or his bone marrow (which grows back) instead of murdering a 7/11 employee for a paltry 300 bucks from the cash register.

  17. This is just too batshit insane–even by NYS legislator standards–to pass… right?

  18. The federal law (sponsored by Al Gore, Jr.) applies to persons “in or affecting interstate commerce”, which means that, rather than its being a question of the entire law’s constitutionality as with Raich, it’s up to the trial court to find in each case whether the person selling the organ did so in, or affected, interstate commerce. It’s a question of fact that could be put to a jury.

  19. Does anyone else find the lede to this story to be particularly infuriating?

  20. I’m on a strict regimen that will render nearly all of my organs of no use to anyone. Maybe the corneas will be OK.

  21. This is what they have in Europe, and people don’t die on waiting lists. There is fascinating psychological research that shows that Americans’ avoidance of donor status is not due to repulsion at the idea of their organs being parceled out, but rather due to proclivity to go along with the ‘default’ status (non-donor) when they get to the DMV, rather than actively become a donor (in Europe it is the opposite. See the book “Gut Feelings” by G. Gigerenzer.

  22. again this goes back to property rights, who owns the organs? you or the state? this is the same principle as you can’t sell your child to a loving family if your unable to care for it but the state gets it from you free to sell it to a loving but rich family? so who owns the child? this is all about ownership/property rights the state is claiming rights it doesn’t have. might doesn’t make right. but moral bankruptscy is the real problem in government not monetary bankruptcy.


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