Rich (often) westerners increasingly buy kidneys from the destitute in a trade I call biological colonialism, otherwise known as “organ tourism.”
It is a terrible exploitation of the desperate by the terrified-of-dying willing to take advantage of the powerless to save their own skins.
The black market organ industry leaves its victims scarred at best, unhealthy perhaps, or murdered for (as in China’s odious organ bazaar, in which Falon Gong and other political prisoners may be tissue-typed, murdered, and their body parts sold).
Canada is considering outlawing organ tourism, not only because of its blatant immorality–which should be enough–but because it isn’t safe for the exploiter. From the National Post story:
The steady stream of Canadians who continue to buy organs overseas are not only propping up a morally dubious trade, but putting their own lives at serious, long-term risk, suggests a new study.
One of the lead authors says the findings offer more reason why the federal government should make participating in transplant tourism a criminal offence.
People who obtained a kidney transplant outside Canada, then returned for after-care at a Toronto hospital, were three to four times as likely to die or lose the organ as those transplanted here, the researchers found.
And they brought home some nasty souvenirs, including potentially deadly cases of hepatitis and tuberculosis, says the study.
Yes, by all means criminalize participation in that black market.
As I write in my upcoming Culture of Death: The Age of ‘Do Harm’ Medicine, we shouldn’t refuse necessary continued medical treatment for biological organ colonialists, as that would amount to a death penalty.
But buying organs should be a criminal offense that doctors are required to report to authorities, as they are spousal abuse or certain communicable diseases.
More importantly: People who participate should be scorned, as most of us would anyone we know who engaged in sex tourism with children. Social sanction often works far more effectively than law.