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British professor has solution to student debt – sell your body parts

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Summary of story by Morning Star, August 3, 2o11

Under plans floated by University of Dundee Professor Sue Rabbit Roff, cash-strapped people in Britain should be allowed to sell off their body parts to reduce their debts.

Although under the Human Tissue Act it is currently illegal to buy or sell organs for transplantation in Britain, desperate donors would be able to sell a kidney for £28,000 under her proposals.

According to Professor Roff, legalising the trade could help people pay off student debts:

“It would be an incentive across most income levels for those who wanted to do a kind deed and make enough money to, for instance, pay off university loans,” she said.

But Dr Calum MacKellar of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics said that the entire plan rested on there being enough people in society desperate for cash.

“To place a financial value on human beings or parts of human beings undermines the inherent dignity of the human person and the innate as well as unmeasurable worth of all individuals,” he said.

National Union of Students’ president, Liam Burn, branded Roff’s proposal  “horrific”

“She appears to be suggesting that the sale of body parts is an acceptable consequence of higher tuition fees, but that it would be particularly appropriate for those with less money,” he said.

“Work to increase donors is to be welcomed, but something is very wrong when students are encouraged to sell off body parts to fund their education.

“I hope the government are paying attention to the kinds of things that are being suggested as a consequence of them pushing students towards ever higher debt.”

While Roff has acknowledged that the plan may be a way to boost the supply of vital organs for transplant, she admitted that this “might exploit poor people.”

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