Organ transplants

Stossel: Save Lives, Sell Organs

Critics say organ sales would hurt the poor. In fact, it would save lives.


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More than 100,000 Americans are waiting for someone to donate an organ. Many will die waiting.

Some people turn to the black market because there aren't enough organs available legally. A single organ can sell for up to $200,000.

One solution to the problem would be to legalize buying and selling organs.

Philosophy professor Samuel Kerstein tells John Stossel this is a bad idea: "Poor people are going to be hurt! Body parts to be put into Americans will come from poor countries!"

Stossel argues that legalization would make organ transplants safer and bring prices down. People legally sell blood, plasma, sperm, eggs, bone marrow. Why not a kidney?

Law professor Lloyd Cohen agrees: "Financial incentives work for everything. They work for food, they work for housing, they work for clothing." He sneers at the arguments in support of banning sales. "Deep moralisms about the dignity of human life being degraded by commercialism. It's all crap."

24 years ago, Cohen went on 60 Minutes to argue that people should be allowed to sell an organ. Now he needs a kidney himself. He has become one of the growing number of Americans waiting for one.

But because no one is allowed to buy or sell a kidney, says Cohen, "organs that could restore people to health and extend life are instead being buried and burned."

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.