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Transplantation of organs, tissues, etc.; Donation of organs, tissues, etc.--Moral and ethical aspects


The success of organ transplants in recent years has created a shortage of transplantable cadaver organs. Voluntarism, the primary mode of organ procurement currently in use nationwide, appears to be no longer successful. Policy makers and others are examining alternatives to the current system, namely, presumed consent (routine salvaging) and required request. In this process, there is a danger in considering only the effectiveness of the means and neglecting the value and belief commitments that underlie them. These need to be brought to the surface because they ultimately contribute toward shaping the moral character of society. In this light, required request might be a preferable public policy option because it balances the values of voluntarism (autonomy, individual rights, and charity) with those of presumed consent (community, social well-being, and justice). It also promises to be more effective than either of the other two alternatives.

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