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PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 4 Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical?

Organ Conscription

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 4 Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical?

As American’s we are accustomed to choosing whether we would want to have our organs donated upon death or not by opting in, usually when we get our driver’s license. Many people give little though to what it really means to donate their organs, often times, they just check yes or no and go on about their business. People frequently die while on a transplant list due to the fact that there just are not enough organs available for transplant. Education on the importance of organ donation and what it can mean to so many people could increase the number of available donors. However, there is a much bigger discussion going on about ways to increase the numbers of available donors, one such discussion would be organ conscription. With organ conscription one would not have the option to check yes or no, and all usable organs would be made available for transplantation upon death, consent would not be required. In this paper we will talk about moral issues surrounding organ conscription and the concept of consent.

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 4 Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical?


Consent is required to procure or harvest cadaver organs, consent either from the cadaver while alive or from the family after death. Many could argue that it is morally correct to have the right to choose whether one’s organs be donated upon death or not. One could argue that people have the right to have a say in what happens to their body even upon death and that right should not be taken away from them. For example: some feel that by not having the right to consent to organ donation, the Government is trying to take away more human rights. Some believe that if they donate their organs by choice that is a gift to the receiver, but if their organs are taken without consent it should be considered theft (Miller, et al., 2020). Others on the other hand could argue that consent to procure cadaveric organs is not ethically required because of the growing organ shortage. They could also argue that without prior direction or request medical facilities would initiate life saving measures such as ventilators under assumed consent if the need arose, those people feel there is no difference in assumed consent to harvest organs upon death or assumed consent to prolong life unless otherwise specified. Some believe that the shortage of organs alone would ethically warrant organ conscription. The utilitarian ethics would support organ conscription because it supports the greater good, conscription would provide more happiness to more people (Levin 2019). So many organ recipients are so very grateful to their donors for the organs they received, they feel these donors are heroes and they value the second chance they have been given. Some believe that if people did not have the right to choose to be donors this gratefulness and gratitude for the donors and their families may diminish. Some people believe that instead of being so very grateful for the organs they are given that recipients will begin to feel that they just deserve them, it will no longer be a special gift it will be what is expected, thus consent is ethically required (McCormack 2019). 

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 4 Robbing the Dead: Is Organ Conscription Ethical?


With the current system of opt-in people have the right to choose if they want to donate their organs upon death or not. With little to no thought given of the impact to others, unless they have been directly affected by organ donation, thus resulting in a shortage of organ donation. With the proposed policy of the opt-out system, consent would be presumed, so unless one was to expressly convey that donation was against their wishes all available organs would be prepared for transplantation, thus increasing the available organs and decreasing the shortage. With the opt-out system people would still have the chance to opt out if it is expressly against their core beliefs, but for the most part the majority would not give second thought to the idea of donating their organs. This system would still be ethically and morally acceptable without taking away the freedom of no chance to choose. The opt-out system also supports ones autonomy in respecting people’s freedom of choice and beliefs. Natural law could be justified with this system by, letting nature take its course, when one dies we are giving life to another (Levin, et al., 2019).


Opt-out system along with population education could help decrease the organ shortage. As hard as it is to accept though dying is part of living and we will all do it at some point, no one will live forever. One thing we can all hope for is that when the end comes that we can go peacefully and with dignity. As a health care professional I will say that there are worse things than dying. With the Opt out system we are respecting ones freedom, beliefs, natural law and autonomy while helping decrease the shortage of available organs. Organ Conscription on the other hand, although, may help decrease the shortage of available organs will also take away one’s freedom and mortality, giving no respect to peoples beliefs or even taking into consideration ones quality of life. I believe that if our only goal is to keep everyone alive as long as possible then we have missed the point all together. What would happen if everyone was to live forever, what quality of life would there be then?   


Levin, S.B. (2019). Why organ conscription should be off the table: Extrapolation for Heidegger’s. Being and Time, 58(2), 153-174. doi:http://dx.doi.drg.library.capella.edu/10.1007/s11841-017-0589-6

McCormack, C. (2019). Organ transplant recipient grateful for donors, ‘heroes’. Bismarck Tribune. http://library.capella.edu/login?qurl+https%3A%2Fwww.proquest.comMiller, J., Currie, S., & O’Carroll, R. E. (2019). If I donate my organs it’s a gift, if you take them it’s theft: BMC Public Health (19) 1463. https://doi.org/10.1186?s12889-019-7774-1

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