Friday, June 5, 2015

The Shi'a religious jurisprudence behind Iran's legal market for kidneys

An anthropology graduate student named Elham Mireshghi is studying the market for kidneys in Iran, and includes in her study some interesting observations about the Shi'a fatwas on donation, brain death, and donor compensation that give the market its religious justification.

I haven't seen her paper yet, but she is presenting a paper in Chicago at the U. Chicago Program on Medicine and Religion's
2nd Annual Islamic Bioethics Workshop--Dissecting the Ethics of Organ Donation (June 5-7). Her tantalizing slides are here.

She writes that concern whether transplantation itself was permissible loomed larger than the issue of sales, and that Ayatullah Khomeini initially prohibited transplantation, but that this ruling was changed after it became accepted that the transplanted organ became part of the body of the recipient once blood flowed through it.

Regarding compensation of the donors, she argues that the distinction between a gift and a sale was avoided by framing the question not as

“Can a kidney be bought and henceforth removed and transplanted into a new body,”

but rather as

 “now that a kidney has been removed for the legitimate purpose of being transplanted, can the owner of the kidney receive payment for it?”

I'm looking forward to reading the paper...

HT: Jim Childress, Mario Macis

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