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Law & Order & Social Issues 1

August 4, 2009

I love Law & Order. I love the original. I love Criminal Intent. I love SVU (which is probably my favorite). I like crime shows in general (I love Bones!). What I really love about Law & Order is that they touch on real social issues quite often. Stuff most shows shy away from. So I’ve decided to start a new series of posts called “Law & Order & Social Issues”. I’ll recap the episode, briefly talk about the social issue, give my opinion and ask for yours. These may contain spoilers and heated topics: so read at your own risk 🙂

SVU “Parts” 2005 – After a woman’s head is found in a car junkyard, the detectives track it down to the black market.

To be honest, it’s been a little while since I’ve seen this episode so I can’t give you all the details. Long story short, people are selling organs on the black market. Stabler looks away as a stolen organ is given to a dying child at the end of the episode.

Legally, you cannot buy organs. However, having money helps. Take Steve Jobs, he needed a new liver. The average wait time in the US is over a year. Livers are a scarce resource. In any given year, only about one-third of the people on the national transplant waiting list receive one, and as of late June, more than 16,000 people were on the list. Jobs, however, got one not long after getting on a list. A list in Tennessee, not his home state of California. How did he manage that? He became a resident of Tennessee by buying a home there, allowing him to get on a shorter list.

So should you be able to buy body parts? I think so. Here may be where my coldheartedness (is that a word?) kicks in. I think that if you can afford better health care, you should get better health care. If you want to be able to buy a liver after knocking back a few too many gin and tonics, then you better bust your ass now.

I know some would say that the rich don’t work hard so why do they deserve more than the hard working middle class. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but a lot of rich people work. I know it makes it harder to hate them, but it’s true. Does Paris Hilton work hard? No, but her grandparents (or great-grandparents or some other ancient Hilton) did allowing their descendant an easy life.

Am I saying a liver should cost a million dollars? NO.

Do I think there should be a organ donation program that works similar or better than what we have now? YES.

I just think people should be able to sell their livers (or other body parts) to other people if they want to.

So what do you think? Should people be able to willingly sell their body parts (and therefore have people buying them)?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Aманда permalink
    August 4, 2009 9:53 pm

    All I will say on the body part selling and buying is that I agree that there needs to be a better organ donation program.

    I look forward to more of these posts though. There has to be tons of social issues to talk about.

    • taraSG permalink
      August 4, 2009 10:17 pm

      I’m really surprised at how many L & O episodes have a deeper meaning. Of course since I watch them every day regardless of whether I’ve seen them already or not, maybe I just read into them a little much.

      The current system really does need an overhaul. I’m not sure why it’s compartmentalized geographically and not just by who needs it most.

      • Aманда permalink
        August 4, 2009 10:30 pm

        I’ve often noticed that some episodes will follow a similar story line to an actual (news-worthy/nationally covered) crime.

        • taraSG permalink
          August 4, 2009 10:58 pm

          Yeah, I like when they do that too. The one that played off the Anna Nicole story line was pretty funny… in a sad way I guess since people die…

  2. August 5, 2009 9:16 am

    Wow, this is a really good question. It does seem remarkably unfair that Jobs just had to buy a new home to get on a new list when most of us can’t afford to do that. Hell, a lot of my friends (and my husband) can’t even afford health insurance.

    There definitely needs to be a better worldwide organ program.

  3. Chère permalink
    August 5, 2009 10:52 am

    We talked about this in my Property class last year (actually, it was a case about whether or not you have a right of ownership to the cells from your body after they are removed – answer, NO.). I agree that we need a better system, but I worry that if it is legal to buy and sell body parts that the poor will be the overwhelming majority of donors, not receivers. I realize that people should be able to make money if they need it, and if they want to sell a kidney that’s one way…but without strong oversight I feel like there could be a lot of “taking advantage” of the marginalized. Not that that doesn’t happen already.
    Although, I do wonder sometimes how/where/who draws the line…because you can sell your eggs, but not your kidney? You can give away or sell parts of you that create other PEOPLE, but not parts of you that keep other people ALIVE? It’s an interesting issue…one I certainly don’t have a solid answer to…

    • Aманда permalink
      August 5, 2009 11:02 am

      “I worry that if it is legal to buy and sell body parts that the poor will be the overwhelming majority of donors, not receivers.”

      I am totally with you on that one.

    • taraSG permalink
      August 5, 2009 11:05 am

      Although, I do wonder sometimes how/where/who draws the line…because you can sell your eggs, but not your kidney? You can give away or sell parts of you that create other PEOPLE, but not parts of you that keep other people ALIVE?

      I hadn’t thought about it that way and that’s a good point.

      There would have to be severe regulation on who is donating and that it is healthy for them to do so. I think the reason I’m so for it is because sometimes you can’t find a donor who matches but maybe you could find someone who matches willing to sell you their organ. I just think people should have the right to make that decision.

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