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Debate on sale of donor organs shows equal division of opinion

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 13 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5700
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. 1London

At the end of a meeting held on 11 October to debate the cautiously worded motion “Paying for blood and organs is not so bad,” an audience at the Wellcome Trust’s headquarters in London voted 44% in favour and 44% against. But this dead heat could be viewed as a moral victory by the team proposing the motion. A vote taken at the beginning of the evening had shown just 33% to be in favour, with 50% against.

The University of Auckland professor of political studies, Martin Wilkinson, opened the debate, which was organised by the Centre for the Study of Incentives in Health. He prefaced his argument for the motion by making an audacious bid to seize the moral high ground. In ruling the sale of organs a criminal offence, he declared, you are preventing people from …

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