Anencephalics as organ sources

Sharon Sytsma
Northern Illinois University
In recent years, the need for infant organs for transplantation has increased. There is a growing recognition of the potential use of anencephalics as sources of organs. Prevalent arguments defending the use of live anencephalics for organ sources are identified and criticized. I argue that attempts to deny the applicability of the dead-donor rule are either question-begging or based on false premises and that attempts to skirt the Kantian dictum against treating others as a means only are not successful. I contend that the apparent utilitarian justification for live anencephalics as organ sources is unsatisfactory for two reasons: first, because it ignores the undermining effect the policy would have on parental values and sentiments central to social welfare; and second, because attempts to respond adequately to the slippery slope argument against live anencephalic use are unconvincing.
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