Contested commodities at both ends of life: Buying and selling gametes, embryos, and body tissues

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 11 (3):263-284 (2001)
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Abstract

: This essay examines the increasing commodification of the body with respect to tissues, gametes, and embryos. Such commodification contributes to a diminishing sense of human personhood on an individual level, even as it erodes commitments to human flourishing at the societal level. After the case for social harm resulting from the increasing commodification of the body is made, the question becomes whether that harm is best remedied by following any of three approaches by which government traditionally seeks to promote the flourishing of its citizens. The author concludes that it is not, and that what is needed is a pragmatic and somewhat casuistic approach to the regulation of contested commodities--that which legal scholar Margaret Jane Radin calls "incomplete commodification."

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