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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/11/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,903 times Debate No: 15891
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




The resolution is, "Resolved: The United States federal government should permit the use of financial incentives to encourage organ donation."

The rules are standard NFL PFD rules, and can be read in the [1]link below for any-one unfamiliar with the rules.

The format is obviously adapted to this site's layout.
Round 1 is for acceptance and clarification
Round 2 is for constructive speeches, and constructive speeches alone. (No attacks made here)
Round 3 is for attacking your opponent's case, and making extension of your own case. Not refutation or new attacks here
Round 4 is for refutation of attacks made, and voters.

That said, here's to a fun debate!



I'd like to start by thanking my opponent for making this debate. I do public forum debate in high school and I accept the format he has established. I look forward to a good debate on this topic.
Debate Round No. 1


Resolved: The United States federal government should permit the use of financial incentives to encourage organ donation.

When looking at this resolution, there are a few things that come to mind that should be stated for clarification

OBS_1: The resolution uses the word "Permit", This is very important because this will in fact scope the way this debate is debated. The resolution never states that the funding for the financial incentives would come from federal sources, it simply says to permit these incentives. What we are arguing here is whether or not funding should be permitted to be given as financial incentive.

OBS_2: The resolution uses the word "encourage" which signifies that not only would organ donation be completely voluntary, but that there is a need for organ donation in our society. I will expand upon the need for donation and donation being voluntary later on as needed.

With these things in perspective of the resolution, I will now present three independent arguments. If any one of them is true, then the resolution is true, and the vote must be to the Pro.

Argument 1: There is a need for organ donors in our society-

[1] "...Despite the number of transplants, there are still not enough donor organs to fill the needs of those who require them. As of October 19, 2005, more than 89,790 people were on the waiting list for a suitable donor organ. More than 12,700 people wait five or more years to get a matching organ. Experts with Donate Life, a government-sponsored educational organization, estimate 17 people die every day because they are unable to get a donor organ in time."

[2] "Each month, 1,000 people are added to the national organ transplant waiting list, which tops more than 75,000. Nearly half of the patients die waiting for a life-saving transplant.

Although 89 percent of the U.S. population favors donation, only 1 in 4 consent - leaving the rate of donation around 5,000 a year, far below the demand."

[2]"When a body is donated for transplant more than 100 people can benefit. Not only are organs used, but bones and tissues are also valuable life-enhancing transplants. More than 600,000 people benefit each year from tissue transplants, while more than 45,000 have better vision each year because of corneal transplants."

Now if we where to give out financial incentives for donation whether it be from an individual, charity, or hospital; this number would most assuredly go up. The impact here, is that there would not be nearly as many deaths because of something so avoidable.

Argument 2: Making organ donation taboo costs lives-

There are many, many, MANY, rumors surrounding Organ donation; and almost all of them are false. The only reason I even bother to say "almost" is that I don't know all of the rumors about this process, [3] but we can look at some of the most common. Here are a few myths, and the truths behind them;

Myth 1: "If I agree to donate my organs, the attending physician or emergency room staff won't try to save my life. They'll remove my organs as soon as possible to save somebody else"
Truth 1: When in such a situation doctors bound not only by their Hippocratic oath, but common ethics to save your life; not someone else's

Myth 2: "What if I'm not actually dead when they sign my death certificate? It'll be too late for me if they've taken my organs for transplantation. I might have otherwise recovered."
Truth 2: Physicians are not going to declare a person dead with-out first going through the proper procedures

Myth 3: "I want or my loved one wants to have an open-casket funeral. That can't happen if his or her organs or tissues have been donated."
Truth 3: For an open casket funeral, the body is only seen up to the middle torso, so signs of organ, or tissue transplants aren't going to be visible; For cornea transplants, glass is inserted and the eyelids are sealed shut during the embalming process; and for bone transplants, metal rods are inserted wherever the bones are taken from to maintain form.

There are many other common myths, but I think these prove my point just fine; because of the "he said, she said" nature of myth and rumor surrounding organ donation, millions of people die needlessly every year. However by offering financial incentives, and proper organ donation education to possible donors, we can not only dispel these nasty rumors; but again, we will save lives.

Argument 3: Organs not donated, are wasted-

[4]When a person dies, their body is treated and goes through a process known as "embalming". In this process, the body is completely drained of all it's blood, lymph, and other bodily fluids; is injected with a chemical known as "formaldehyde" or other preservative chemical to help the body from decomposing.
Not only is the body not kept in it's natural state at the time burial, but this is a complete waste of perfectly good blood that may well have saved another person's life through a blood or plasma transfusion.

After this, an incision is made in the lower abdomen, and the contents of the stomach, and intestines are removed; the organs are then aspirated, or dried out, and full strength embalming fluid is pumped into the organs and abdominal area.
Again, the body is not kept in it's natural state; but the organs are decimated for the purpose of preservation, and otherwise life saving organs are destroyed.

Now the impacts here, are not only is embalming mandatory prior to burial; but it is also rather expensive. By giving financial incentives to organ donors, the costs of funerals will be greatly lessened for families. However definitely an even larger impact is the saving of lives.

Thus vote pro, and save lives.


While the shortage of organ donors in the United States is indeed an issue demanding a solution, financial incentives in order to promote the practice are not the way to go about resolving such a delicate issue. Therefore, I negate the resolution;
Resolved: The United States federal government should permit the use of financial incentives to encourage organ donation.

Contention 1. Financial incentives may actually decrease donations.

According to Sanders, Devney, Young, and Raffin, "Not only is an incentive-based system unethical, but payment to the donor family may disproportionately decrease organ donation rates where they are most needed. Monetary reimbursement destroys the altruism of the donation process, a component that many donor families find alluring and therapeutic." (Full citation: LM Sanders, P Devney, E Young, and TA Raffin, An ethically responsible approach to increasing the organ donation rate, 1992, Chest) One of the biggest benefits derived from organ donation is the positive feelings that families of the deceased get from helping save lives. Financial incentives offered to the family could cheapen their feelings of altruism or even destroy them altogether, leaving donation rates to fall or experience no significant increase. With the organ donation system in such dire straits, any proposals to reform the system cannot come with the
risk of decreasing the number of organ donors. That is a cost we simply cannot afford.

Contention 2. Organs cannot be treated as commodities.

Although financial incentives do not necessarily mean that a direct cash exchange will take place, they are still assigned a monetary value in some regard by the use of financial incentives. According to Dr. Richard A. Demme, "The point is, that if everyone accepts that organs are commodities like anything else that could be bought or sold, then organs could be treated like other things of value that we barter. In such a system, it would be logical that creditors might have a say about what happens to your assets. If you list your organs along with the rest of your assets, others might have a claim on them, and that is morally repugnant." (Full citation: Richard A. Demme, Ethical Concerns About an Organ Market, January 2010, Journal of the National Medical Association) Opening the doorway to financial incentives for organ donation places organs in a new, exchangeable light. Although human gametes are commonly sold, they are to an extent renewable tissue and not vital organs. The uniqueness of vital internal organs demands different ethical standards.

Contention 3. Financial incentives exploit the poor.

Based on the meaning of the word incentive, it is reasonable to argue that the poor will be more likely to sell their organs, as their financial need would be greater and the incentives thus more alluring. According to Devney, Sanders, Young, and Raffin, "In other words, a financially desperate family that holds a moral objection to organ donation may be coerced by a financial incentive. Since a financial incentive system for organ donation demonstrates the potential for coercion, it is by definition unethical." (Full citation: LM Sanders, P Devney, E Young, and TA
Raffin, An ethically responsible approach to increasing the organ donation rate, 1992, Chest) A system that preys on those who are already disadvantaged cannot be allowed to be implemented. In the event of monetary incentives offered to a family after death, these concerns are still not assuaged. According to J. Andrew Hughes, "Even payments after death can coerce a poor person through his concern about how his family will survive after his death and lead to donation based on financial motives rather than altruism--whether the pressure of monetary incentives is internal to the poor seller or externally applied." (Full citation: J. Andrew Hughes, You Get What You Pay For? Rethinking U.S. Organ Procurement Policy in Light of Foreign Models, January 2009,
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law) A system that will unavoidably lead to exploitation is not an acceptable answer to the problem of the organ donation shortage.

Because of the aforementioned reasons: 1. Financial incentives may actually decrease donations, 2. Organs cannot be treated as commodities, and 3. Financial incentives exploit the poor, I urge the negation of the resolution in this debate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for their arguments, and I look forward to a very good debate!
So now as a brief road-map; I will first attack my opponent's arguments, and then with my remaining characters I will make some extensions on my own case.

So going onto the Con case, he doesn't offer much in the way of structure, or observation; so I won't attack anything he has for that, instead I will jump directly into his contentions.

Contention 1: Financial incentives may actually decrease donations.
I have several arguments here,
a. My opponent claim that one of the biggest benefits derived from organ donation, are the feelings of altruism that the family of the deceased has. They are comforted by the knowledge that their loved one's organs are helping another person to live, and fight on. And of course while this is definitely a benefit, it is not the largest benefit. We have to ultimately look to the fact that the biggest benefit is going to be the many lives saved from donating these organs; thus any procedure that we can take to help save these lives will be the correct procedure.

b. Through my opponent's sources cited, he only proves that altruism is destroyed, which is regrettably a bad thing, but again it's not the most important thing. Again, the most important thing in this debate is going to be the saving of lives. My opponent never actually proves that by offering financial incentives, organ donation rates would go down; the best he is able to give us is a non-sequitar conclusion that giving financial incentives would lessen the rate of Organ Donation. The fact is, that there have never been financial incentives offered for organ donation, so we cannot be led to believe that this huge surplus of people would be so disgusted by it, they would completely withdraw from the program.

c. Let's assume for a moment that My opponent is correct in his assumption that by offering financial incentives, that organ donors in the status quo would completely withdraw from the system. That wouldn't be a problem, those less emotionally inclined, or morally sensitive would jump at the opportunity to give their families a bit of financial security after their death, especially people who where otherwise the main, or even only care provider for their family. The fact is that people are creatures that are always wanting make a buck, and under my opponent's stance only those who exist as organ donors in the status quo are being considered Where this voted as Pro, many more would be donors.

Contention 2: Organs cannot be treated as commodities.
First of all, let's look at what exactly a commodity is, as [1] defines it, a commodities are "articles of commerce" While there are financial incentives behind this organ donation, that doesn't lower them to commerce. We must remember that this is not a transaction, this is donation. The benefits are mutual, some-one's life is saved, and the families of the deceased gain a little financial security. But this is not the same thing as importing corn from Mexico, or starting one's own business; and that's because Organ Donation is not a business, it's a charity.

With that said I have a few arguments here,
a. First, Again these things are not commodities, but even if they where that would be fine; My opponent frames this argument as though it would be some huge mass of companies, or even individuals buying these organs. It's not like buying some-one's spleen would be as easy as picking it up while grocery shopping, as set forth by The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984; it would be illegal to sell an organ, these financial incentives would be more so gifts than they would payment for services rendered.

b. The organs are only donated after the person is already dead, so when my opponent says that they have a uniqueness to them, or ought to have some different standard, it simply isn't true; the person is dead all of their organs are equally worthless to them, and equally life-saving to some-one else. Much of my opponent's impacts here are pathos based claims. Something not relevant in the scope of this debate if we truly wish to come to a true and fair conclusion.

c. First of all, I want to make a direct link here between my own argument 3. My opponent already agree that there is a need for organ donation in our society; so since the organs are otherwise going to waste the most appropriate solution is to not only donate them but to give the family a bit of financial support as well. But not only that
[2] the dead do not have rights so regarding this picture my opponent paints about creditors having rights to the persons "assets" is not a problem, this person no longer has any assets. and thus not human rights re being violated.


Contention 3: Financial incentives exploit the poor.

I'm going to be brief here, as I think I've covered a lot of what my opponent claims here in my prior attacks.
First I'll Extend my attack a. on Contention 1, and I'll simply expand on this attack here.

a. The base idea I need to stress here, is that while altruism is most definitely a good thing to have; when held in comparison with saving lives from the donated organs, or providing financial security to those who are economically disadvantaged with the financial incentives, Altruism will be held as a lesser value every single time.

Next extend my attack b. on contention 2, again I will expand on this attack.

b. First, the altruistic point of organ donation is not so great a problem, especially when held in comparison to the many people who die from not getting a needed organ on the national organ transplant list every year. Donating organs is not like an apology; you can donate organs solely for the financial benefits, that person dying in a hospital bed from a corroded liver will be just as thankful for it had it been donated with love and sincerity. As I've already said before, in my own argument 3, that organs not donated are wasted; upon death and the embalming process, a person's blood is already completely drained and their organs are dried out, they still would not be gaining those altruistic benefits by not donating. The only thing these poor families would end up getting, would be funeral costs.

c. Giving economically disadvantaged people financial incentives is the exact opposite of exploitation; it helping them in the most sincere an purest way. My opponent claims that these poor people will be exploited, and infers that they would be led to sell their organs right there in that moment; but as I've already proven organs are not donated until after death; this is not an issue.

At this point I do not see a need to extend any portion of my own case, so I will now had the debate back over to my opponent.


I would like to begin by attacking my opponent's case; then I will move on to extending my own case.

In my opponent's first contention he argued that there is a need for organ donors in our society. He presented statistics showing that there was a shortage of organ donors. This may be true. However we must see that offering financial incentives is not the way to fix this problem. As I showed in my case this method will have a series of extremely detrimental effects. First it will ruin the altruistic side of organ donation. This was proven in my case and supported by logic. This will weaken any potential benefits gained from financial incentives. This was also proven in my case. Second it will lower the value of humanity. Due to he fact that donors will be offered financial incentive for giving away their organs this will obviously place monetary value on these organs. This is obviously a negative impact. Finally it gives the wealthy who can provide such a incentive an advantage. It also pressures the poor into making bad decisions because of monetary need. This is a third downfall of the financial incentives. We can see that, for these reasons, financial incentives are not the way to solve the issue of organ donation shortages.

In my opponent's second contention he argues that making organ donation taboo costs lives. There is nowhere in the resolution that even begins to mention banning organ donations. This is an entirely irrelevant point. In this contention he moves on to discuss various myths associated with organ donation. Non of these myths are actually relevant to the resolution in any way. These myths and the truths provided do not actually provide any reason to permit financial incentives for organ donation. They simply present ignorant myths about organ donation then prove them wrong. This entire contention was simply invalid.

In my opponent's third contention he stated that organs that are not donated are wasted. He went on to describe the process of embalming. Given his description of this process it does show that some of the organs are wasted. However he does not show that financial incentives will substantially increase the amount of donations. It is a logical choice to donate one's organs after death some people choose not to based on faith, personal beliefs, or other strongly based personal reasons. Financial incentives will not shake these reasons. If they do it will be in a way that coerces people into forsaking their beliefs for money. This is obviously unacceptable.

I see no reason to expand my case.

With that I respectfully ask for a Con vote in this debate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by PFD_Debater 7 years ago
I see, it would have been fine with me had you done that; But thanks for giving me some ground.
And yeah, thanks for the debate :D, I hope to have many more with you!
Posted by JacobHession 7 years ago
@PFD_Debater I stuck to the rules. I didn't refute your attacks or go over voters. I was just trying to not be a douche. It should be alright without the fourth round. Thanks for the debate.
Posted by PFD_Debater 7 years ago
Uh-oh, I just realized that I only put three rounds of debate here. That's no good.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by AznWords 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pros argument starts out a bit weak but makes a strong defence that Con responds to only by reiterating his previous points.