While the culture of the scientific community is largely that of an entity that believes itself to be secular, there is no divorcing the implications of scientific advancement from ethics.
For this reason, an entire field of thought, bioethics, explores the ethical and moral side of medical science and biotechnology.
The medical journal by this name —Bioethics — recently published a paper by academic Diddie Andersen of the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark which argued discussed “the permissibility of living vital organ donation.”
Andersen, who appears to be a political scientist, explains in the abstract that currently, the dead donor rule (DDR) protects living patients from being used to donate organs (unless they are brain dead).
However, some have begun to discuss whether DDR is too restrictive and argue in favor of harvesting organs from patients whose death is already believed to be inevitable and would be allowed to request life-saving treatment be withheld.
This is called organ donor euthanasia, or ODE.
Yet Andersen pointedly states her abstract, “While I am sympathetic to this proposal I do not think it goes far enough.”
Thus her paper, “May I give you my heart?” has been written to demonstrate “the key reasons put forward in favor of permitting ODE actually justify a more far-reaching suggestion for regulation, permitting people to become living vital organ donors even when they are not about to die for other reasons.”
“Further, I argue that only accepting imminently dying people as eligible donors for living vital organ donation would be objectionably paternalistic,” she states.
That is, she argues in favor of allowing living, healthy people to undergo death by organ donation should they so choose and what’s more, not allowing this to take place is unfair.
This is an incredibly dangerous proposal morally. Once the dubiously moral argument has been made that a patient may agree to end their own life, where does it end?
As Wesley J. Smith, author and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism explains, “Once death ceases to be the necessary predicate for donating vital organs — and is replaced with ‘consent’ — there would be no natural limiting principle.”
As it is, the argument that a patient has a right to agree to death by organ donation should they believe they are going to die is problematic as it is—not everyone dies after being denied life-saving treatment.
It is certainly very scary to consider the role that the influence of medical staff could play on a person’s decision to agree to essentially be killed through the process of having their organs extracted from them.
And this woman is arguing that patients who are perfectly healthy should be allowed to essentially donate their life along with their kidney?
Yes, this is exactly what this woman is arguing.
“If the autonomous desire to sacrifice oneself to benefit others should count as a morally relevant reason, all things being equal, this desire will have a greater chance of being fulfilled when the donor is not imminently dying,” Andersen writes.
“In such cases, the donation can be postponed until a suitable recipient is in place. By contrast, when the primary motivation is death, as it is in ODE, it is plausible that patients would not be willing or able to wait for months, maybe years, until a receiver match appears.”
When mere consent is the criteria used to determine when it is ethical to harvest a human’s organs from their body with the knowledge that doing so will kill them, it “gives these advocates no pause that their plans would also transform organ-transplant doctors — known for focusing exclusively on saving lives — into outright killers,” as Smith warns.
This, he asserts, is “do harm” medicine, a blatant violation of a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath to “first, do no harm.”
Yet when our society has long been killing heathy, living unborn babies in the womb should their mothers “choose” not to give birth to them, is it really that surprising that the medical world is now considering killing healthy, living adults should they so choose to be killed?
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