by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

I realize that there are two sides to the issue of legalizing kidney donations for pay. But the prospect makes me uncomfortable. I am one of many Californians facing foreclosure on my home. (In my case, we're talking about mid-2010, but of course many other families have a much shorter timeframe.) People are doing everything they can to stay in their homes, and/or to feed their children. I can only imagine what many families would do if it were legal to sell one's body parts for money. And I'm not kidding: as I think about a loved one whom I lost last year, I would have gladly sold one of my own kidneys, if this would have helped pay for better medical treatment for him. If I had the option now, I would do this without much of a second thought.

I've been inclined towards libertarianism and capitalism for many years, but I think we've seen recently that the free market is not perfect. Of the many things we can do to improve the country and the world, legalizing organ donation would not be on my recommended list.

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