Morality and Organ Trading

There seems to be much debate on organ trading recently after our Health Minister said that we should not reject organ trading entirely. I do agree though, because we can’t reject any solution outright without giving some thought to it. The main thing is, if we can tweak the system to accommodate various valid concerns of the public, then perhaps we may allow organ trading. Which brings us to a point on morality.

It has always been used as a stand against a particular action. 377A was like this. Majority minority. Majority saying it’s against morals blablabla. But I was thinking, what morals are then permitted to stand in debate? Which of the morals should we adopt and which of the morals should we not care too much of?

Singapore is a secular country, and we’re supposed to be having four happy races together. The thing is this, in Singapore, we have racial tolerance. Or religious tolerance for that matter. Which means, we tolerate your practices, even if they are different, and we respect them. We do not say your method is wrong or mine is superior.

So in this case, I was wondering, should religious morality be practised? In a way, since we do not use religion or race to impose values on other people, should we use religious morality to push for laws or used to state a particular stand? I think not. One good example would be abortion. The Catholic Church is against abortion, but there is no such “morals” or rules against abortion in some other religion. Hence, it is only right that abortion is not made illegal. Which is good that it’s not illegal in Singapore.

I’m not saying that there are religious morality in the organ trading issue. I’m just saying should any religious morality stand be made, talking about God doesn’t allow for organs to be traded, that they are sacred to humans, or that the human body belongs to God, it should not be treated as a universal moral. It’s perfectly logical to see why. If there is any religion that doesn’t explicitly prohibit the buying or selling of organs, then who are you to use your religion to impose on me and prohibit me from trading organs. Surely, in this viewpoint, using religious morals as a stand is surely wrong.

But I don’t get it. Sometimes the majority preaches morality, but they are preaching morality for everyone’s sake, but not everyone believes in that morality. If lets say religion X prohibits abortion, and someone in religion X aborts, that’s their problem isn’t it? But if someone in religion Y aborts, is it such a big deal?

Let’s move on.

Talking about organ trading, I did it as part of my Critical Thinking and Writing module in NUS in my first semester of study. I find that it is pretty interesting, and we are somewhat handicapped because we try not to be the first few countries to implement a particular controversial policy.

But I am very curious. If organ trading is allowed in Singapore, do you think Singaporeans will be the buyers or the sellers? I ask this because it seems to be an issue that people think the poor will be exploited. I somehow believe that there will be more buyers than sellers. The majority of Singaporeans are educated and will know that the risk of having one less kidney may lead to more chances of having renal failure. In a way, the majority are not so poor as to need to sell a kidney to maintain life. I do not know if people will sell kidneys to buy branded goods, but let’s not move into that.

If, we say that more often than not, Singaporeans are buyers and not sellers, can we take issue that the poor is being exploited? Knowing full well that Singaporeans are going overseas to buy kidneys for transplant, in China and many other countries. Plus, the government subsidies medicine to prevent Kidney rejection when these Singaporeans come back to Singapore with a new kidney. Hence, isn’t it hypocritical of us to claim poor will be exploited when it is perfectly find to buy a kidney elsewhere, just not Singapore? Hence can we say that the poor will be exploited? If so, then ban kidney trading in its entirety. Why encourage by giving subsidies?

In my stand in the paper I wrote, I believed that we can allow organ trading, but of course, with checks and balances. We must always have a well oiled system of checks and balances to prevent exploitation blah blah blah. One of the methods is to make the seller fully aware of risks involved. This includes a greater possibility of renal failure, as well as risks of the operation. The seller may not feel as fit as before since an organ is missing, and in some cases, it seems that people have difficulty lifting heavy objects after the operation. As long as the seller is fully aware of the risks involved, and makes an informed decision, I don’t see why not.

But I believe that Organ Trading will raise implications for the current system. For example, how will it coexist with HOTA? If we allow organ trading, who will remain in HOTA? People may end up selling their kidneys instead of giving it. For example, a youth is killed in an accident, his parents sold his kidneys instead of donating it to HOTA. How then, shall we overcome this problem? That’s for the government to decide.

I believe that there are many problems and I also believe that there are many people who have written letters giving suggestions and raising questions, and I think that’s good. Hopefully the government takes into consideration the various issues pointed out and come up with a solution that can benefit and coexist with HOTA. Perhaps we should put down our so called personal morality and think for everyone. For not all morals are morals to everyone.

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