Buy and Sell Organs for Transplants

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By the end of this activity, you will be able to apply ethical theories to either justify or condemn pending legislation concerning a health care dilemma.


Debating is a useful, lifelong skill. You should be able to debate either side of an issue without letting your emotions interfere. You will lose points for emotionalism. It has been said that a debate is an organized clash of good ideas. The topics of both ethics and health care are filled with many divisive, sensitive and complex issues; issues with multiple perspectives and clashing ideas. In order to make good decisions, we must learn to seek out other viewpoints, explore different ideas, look at our ethical framework and examine the implications of our decisions. Debating an ethical issue can help us learn how to do that.


People should be allowed to buy and sell organs for transplant purposes.

You will be writing an initial statement, a short argument which defines the proof of why and how you are supporting or opposing the proposition. These are similar to opening arguments, where you are expressing your position and then stating facts and subscribing to ethical justifications to support your position.

First, you should begin by considering your debate proposition (either for or against the above statement):

What are the issues associated with your position? Really identify and explore the relevant aspects and components of the different issues.

Identify the different angles from which to address your position (i.e. the rights of the patient, donor, health care provider, tax payers, etc.)


List the arguments that support and oppose your position

Identify the relevant ethical frameworks that can be used to support your position

Second, you should start researching articles which support your position. Gather as much information as you can from reputable sources including expert opinions, research articles, books, government reports, etc. You must use and cite to at least three sources EXCLUDING your textbook. You may use search engines on the internet. I would highly recommend beginning your research with the Excelsior Virtual Library. If you have questions on how, where, or what to search, the librarians will be happy to assist you.

Investigate the advantages and disadvantages for each of the perspectives you previously identified. As you gather your evidence, take note of the evidence of the opposing position. Familiarity with such information should help you to tailor your arguments and conclusions to make them more sound and convincing.

Consider both the short and long term effects of your position.

Third, you will draft your initial argument. The paper should be between three and five pages long and include citations to the sources which you relied upon.

Keep it concise “ a few paragraphs per each key point are sufficient

Be SURE to integrate an ethical framework into your argument

Remember to use substantive evidence to present and promote the key elements of your position “ you will lose points for using just opinions

Be SURE to include references and citations to materials that you are using to support your argument