HEC Forum 27 (4):331-345 (2015)

Authors
Michael Quante
University of Münster
Abstract
Ontario’s Bill 178 proposing a Voluntary Blood Donations Act declares the offer or acceptance of payment for the donation of blood a legal offence and makes it subject to penalty. The bill reinvigorates a fundamental debate about the ethical problems associated with the payment of money for blood. Scarcity of blood donors is a recurring problem in most health systems, and monetary remuneration of the willingness to donate blood is regularly discussed—and sometimes practiced—as a means to overcome scarcity in blood. However, making blood an object of economic exchange has long aroused ethical concerns that often refer to the specific meaning of blood. From the perspective of a modern understanding of money as a metric of economic value, the exchange of money for blood—shed or given—is seen as ethically troubling, because it appears to imply a commensurability of the value of human life and economic wealth. In this paper, we begin with a general taxonomy of the types of arguments that speak in favour or against compensating donors for giving blood. We then describe the context in which the discussion about payment for blood arises, and of the specific aims and concerns that are brought forward in this context. This is used to reconstruct the normative background that supports the rejection of payment for blood as it is envisaged in Bill 178 and the aims of the proposal. We then argue that while a payment indeed changes the nature of a blood donation in an ethically considerable way, we do not believe that decisive arguments against the monetary remuneration of blood donations can be substantiated, at least not independently of assuming specific societal circumstances. Thus it may be possible to establish a stable and safe blood supply through just gratification while at the same time taking strong provisions against social disconnection, injustice, exploitation or heteronomy
Keywords Blood  Markets for blood  Voluntary donation  Payment
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-014-9259-z
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References found in this work BETA

Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly.Norman Daniels - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
Gifts and Exchanges.Kenneth J. Arrow - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (4):343-362.
Public Health, Ethics, and Equity.Sudhir Anand (ed.) - 2004 - Oxford University Press UK.

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Citations of this work BETA

And If It Takes Lying: The Ethics of Blood Donor Non-Compliance.Kurt Blankschaen - 2021 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 31 (4):373-404.

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