A Promise Acceptance Model of Organ Donation

Social Theory and Practice 41 (1):131-148 (2015)
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I aim to understand how the act of becoming an organ donor impacts whether it is permissible for a family veto to override an individual’s wish to donate. I argue that a Consent Model does not capture the right understanding of donor autonomy. I then assess a Gift Model and a Promise Model, arguing that both fail to capture important data about the ability to revoke one’s donor status. I then propose a Promise Acceptance Model, which construes becoming an organ donor as accepting a promise the state makes to you to use your organs. This model, which implies that family vetoes are impermissible, captures the data other models struggle to accommodate.

Author's Profile

Alida Liberman
Southern Methodist University


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