FREEdom…

•July 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I am Black. I am female. I am a single mother. I am Haitian-American. These labels make me beautiful. Each and everyone of them make me the woman that I am today. Such a powerful mix… and yet each one of these labels contribute to my feelings of bondage. Have you ever felt caged? Like you don’t have control over your own path or destiny? That feeling of restriction, I know it too well. I spent most of my life fighting all sorts of stereotypes and overcoming all sorts of obstacles. I learned how to fight for what I wanted and needed. I thought I was fighting the good fight. One that was leading me to freedom. I thought I was winning. But in reality, I had been fighting for was this perceived sense of freedom.  I was not fighting the good fight, I was fighting the wrong fight. I was fighting for the wrong cause, I was fighting the wrong opponent… My opponent was not society, my true opponent was me….

The internal struggles of worthiness, self acceptance, shame, guilt…. I should have been dealing with these issues, confronting them head on, staring them in the face.  Instead, I let them consume me. We became one. As time went on it became harder and harder to live without them. They secretly defined me. I say secretly because unless you were a soothsayer or a prophet, you would have never been able to see them living inside of me. You would have never been able to see them peering in the back of my eyes.

Freedom. To be free, to be liberated, to live with no fear, to live a life with no restrictions, no encumbrances… What would you give to truly be free? The concept of freedom surpasses all things physical. It is a mental state. When you take a look at your life do you consider yourself to be free? Are you free from conventional thinking, conventional living? Are you living your life in the way you envisioned it? Or are you living someone else’s life? Are you fulfilled? Are you satisfied? Are you feeing empty? And if so, do you feel pressured to fill the void?

I am not free. Correction, I am becoming free. Each day poses its own challenges but each day has promise. I was living in the dark and I knew it. I accepted it. But then God brought a positive influence in my life that changed me. I was challenged to be the best person that I could be, but that meant facing my issues and saying to them, you do not define me! It meant going back to my past and uncovering what I had buried alive. I didn’t know how this self incarceration was affecting my personal growth. I was at a point where I became stagnant, but had no clue why.  I was a professional woman, who seemingly had my life together. I went to church, I was God fearing. Why was I stuck?

It all became clear when my dear friend called it out. His words to me were “you are stuck because you are not free”.  I didn’t understand him at first and quite frankly, my thought was you don’t really know me anyways. But he did and he was speaking the truth.  I realized that I had not been truly living. I thought that I could bury my past, bury my issues and move forward in living a happy and meaningful life.  But the reality is that nothing can be buried alive. If you do not deal with your issues, they will spill out and make their appearances whether you like it or not. It may not be today, but at some point they will.

Sometimes your fight is not with the world, but with yourself. You need to wrestle with your demons in order to be truly liberated. When you are truly free, people’s opinions and these social constructs will not matter so much. You will be able to define yourself and choose your own destiny, your own path. I am learning to dare greatly each and every day and it feels great. Sure there are days where I regress and fall back to my old ways of thinking and feeling, but then I think about my goals, my future and my potential and I recalibrate. I reach out to my support systems and reaffirm myself. Life is full of twists and turns, disappointments, heartaches but as as long as you believe in yourself and have an idea of where you are going, you will be ok. I know it sounds easier said then done. But what do you really have to lose?

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life but I have learned that it is not about what you have done, but instead, it is about where you are going. I encourage you all to work on YOU. Fight with YOU. Fight for YOUR freedom and be the best version of YOU that YOU can be. This is one fight worth fighting for and I promise you it will all be worth it in the end.

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Suicide… you don’t have to be crazy to contemplate it….

•May 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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Life…. it’s funny.  You can be staring someone right in the eye and have no idea the pain they live with every day.  We will never say that we are hurting.  We will never tell.  We are too busy making sure the world is a better place while suffering in silence.  We are awesome.  Everyone loves us.  We are so giving…  “How could a person like that take their own life?”  Recently we lost a legal eagle.  A powerhouse in the legal community.  A woman of distinction.  A trailblazer.  The reports say that she committed suicide.  Others have differing opinions, but after an investigation, the results remained the same… Suicide.

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Suicide… it’s a taboo topic in our society, especially in the Black community.  No one ever wants to talk about it and no one ever wants to acknowledge when it happens.  I remember reading comments about the late jurist in a facebook post.  “She was so skilled and loved she would never do such a thing”.  No one that great would ever take their own life.  That would be crazy! Or is it?… 

Life is tough. It is hard, and every day presents another challenge.  Some days are better than others.  I personally think that there is a point where everyone wonders what this life would look like if they were no longer living. I know I have… 

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I grew up in a high pressured environment.  I was the product of a Haitian immigrant, single family home.  Religion dictated my life, I was not allowed to have real friends and I lived with my younger sibling  who I hated.  (I know hate is a strong word, but you know how sibling rivalries go.  Don’t worry, I like him now).  In my opinion I had no one, and I often felt alone.  As I got older, that feeling of loneliness never left me.  I  learned early on how to maneuver in society, my reality undetected.  The irony of it all is that some call me popular, which in actuality I may be.  I am a people person.  However, I am the most anti social social person you will ever meet.  

Sometimes I get to the point where I am so frustrated.  I feel so taken advantage of because I give, give and give and rarely ever take.  I rarely ever accept and I am rarely ever offered.  People expect me to perform at any given time with out ever wondering if I can actually do the job or what toll it may take on me.  Maybe it is because I often go out of my way to make myself competent so that I can meet the expectations.  

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A lot of high powered/ high functioning people commit suicide, and every time we lose one, the world goes in shock and disbelief.  They insist that there was foul play and compel law enforcement to launch an investigation to find the “killer”.  But the only killer is the deceased….  “He or she was so wonderful, so  loved so perfect”.  Well that’s just it.  Perfection comes with a price.  Being high powered comes with a price and often that price is one’s sanity.  There are days where I want to just drop everything and run because I am tired of being everything for everyone.  I am tired of having all of the answers and I am tired of being tired.  “Take a break or stop it you say?”… it is not that easy.  It is not easy to stop being “that” person.  No one voluntarily jumps off of a pedestal.  There is a mentality behind it.  You can’t just shut it off.  Instead, you run yourself ramped until it is too late.  Until you get sick, or until you say that enough is enough and conclude  that it is better to remove yourself rather than to disappoint by not meeting the expectations….  It gets too much.  It really does. 

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I have been a Christian all of my life.  I believe in heaven and hell.  But if I wasn’t so afraid of the after life, I would have probably taken my life a long time ago.  It is not to sound morbid, but it is true.  Pressure is a real thing and until you have been under it, you will never understand the effects it has on one’s psyche.  It doesn’t mean that you are crazy.  Sometimes it’s a rational choice to say I am done, that it’s time to bow out and let the world figure out how to function without you.  

Why am I saying all of this? Well to put everyone at ease, I have no intentions of committing suicide.  But I say all this to wake your asses up.  It is time that you all stop being naïve about mental health.  Suicide is not a dirty word, it is a reality.  It is time to stop with the stereotypes and the judgements.  Suicide is not a crazy person’s dilemma.  It is real and it affects EVERYONE.   Doctors, lawyers, actors, humanitarians we are all human and we go through hard times.  We have little children committing suicide everyday.  In the past two weeks at least two little black kids have committed suicide.  But because of the negative stigma surrounding mental health, we as a society, have made it taboo to seek professional help.  In fact, we often hear that “black people don’t need therapy, they need Jesus,” or a good whooping.” I am all for Jesus and the whooping, but there are therapists for a reason, just like there are doctors and lawyers. 

When we look at the results of society’s wonderful teachings, judgments and shaming, what are we left with?   DEAD children and DEAD loved ones.  We all need  to take a step back and observe the people in our  lives.  Stop with the pressure and the crazy expectations and just observe…  You can tell a lot about a person through observation alone.  Watch and listen, you do not have to speak.  

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  If there is one thing you take from this post it should be this, take the time to appreciate the people in your life and the things that they do for you PROBONO.  The energy that they invest in you, the time that that they sacrifice to make sure that you are ok, when they clearly are hanging by a thread.  Too many great people are opting out of life.  Make sure that your loved one is not next. 

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*Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way*

Fuck Boy

•March 31, 2016 • 6 Comments

Fuck Boy… “A person who is a weak ass pussy that ain’t bout shit.” Urban Dictionary December 29, 2004, http://www.urbandictionary.com. The first time I heard the term fuck boy was summer of 2015. I was having a conversation with one of my younger cousins (who shall remain nameless), and she was talking about this guy who she seemingly didn’t care too much about but was entertaining nonetheless. As she continued her description of this guy she wrapped up the conversation with “but he’s a fuck boy”. I asked her what the hell is a fuck boy? And she responded, a nigga who ain’t about shit, who just plays around with women, you know a fuck boy.

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Over the past few years I have had several unique dating experiences (I may have understated that). I have provided my friends with a lifetime of entertainment and quite frankly I maybe able to write a best seller one day… As interesting as these situations have been, I never thought that at the tender age of 32 I would encounter my first and may I claim in Jesus name, my last fuck boy. If you were to ask me what a fuck boy was prior to reading urban dictionary, I would tell you that they usually tend to be young boys who have nothing going for themselves. I would have told you that these boys take pleasure in getting with women for the sole purpose of jerking them around. I am here to tell you that fuck boys come in all shapes and sizes, from all age groups, creeds, you name it. My great great grandfather use to warn me about “vacabon abiye” which translated, simply means a vagabond in gentlemen’s clothing or in street terms an ain’t shit nigga in a real man’s clothing.

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I have tried my best to heed his warnings (epic fail). But it is real in these streets.  There is a generation of fuck boys rising up. Their training is impeccable. Their recruiters/mentors are putting in over time. They are going hard in the paint. No woman is safe.

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The question you all may be asking yourselves is how did I encounter a fuck boy? Well, I did what most professional women do, I lowered my standards.

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How you may ask? Well it’s simple. Have you ever seen a doctor get with a janitor? I haven’t seen such a thing in my lifetime. Granted if the doctor just wants to have fun, then yes, maybe the janitor thing is not so far fetched. But to become serious and build a life? ? Nah B… Where did I even find a fuck boy? Well my friends as I stated earlier they come in all shapes and sizes, from all age groups and they may even be hiding in your workplace.

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I have always prided myself on not being a classist. I often tell people that I am an equal opportunity dater and quite frankly my track record would reflect that pro affirmative action. I have never really dated a true professional of equal rank and education. But I guess that is the naiveté right? Thinking that ones heart and seemingly good acts transcend all barriers and social constructs. That being able to have an intellectual conversation regarding the state of the union can be replaced with the fact that he could cook a meal.

Those who know me well know I am quite the conversationalist. I know a little bit about everything and I love to use my intellect. But for some reason, I find myself entertaining men who are not intellectuals and as one friend put it “dumb as hell”. giphy (4) What I have learned from my fuck boy experience is this. Stop entertaining men who are not on your level. It is ok to want someone who is articulate and equally intelligent. It is ok to be with a man who can talk about the political and social state of our country. It is ok to expect that a man do more than the bare minimum when courting, i.e. bringing you lunch does not earn you brownie points ,neither does picking you up and dropping you off from point A to point B.

Many women today have a hard time identifying a real man. When a man does something nice, or shows minimal effort, we think we have a prince on our hands, when all we really have is a fuck boy.  coming to america

A guy asked me one time, what I did for a living. I told him that I was an attorney. Right off the bat he told me that I was overqualified to date him. This is without him knowing my credentials. I certainly appreciated this form of honestly. I mean the guy was high at the time, but it was a wake up call that hey I am really a big deal and I should be proud of all my accomplishments. Dealing with insecure men has a way of stealing that sense of pride. You are so caught up in trying to make them feel comfortable, you diminish yourself and your accomplishments and that just isn’t cool.

So what is the takeaway here?  Leave them fuck boy’s alone!! If Jiminy cricket taps you on the shoulder and says this nigga aint for you, listen. If the Holy Spirit comes upon you and says pay attention to his lack of reasoning skills, heed the warning. If your friends say, “he’s a fun guy but he is dumb as hell”, that may be an indication that you should go no further.

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As women, we do a whole lot of settling and we entertain men who we know damn well we will never keep around or introduce to the real family.  There is no reason why we should not strive to have it all.  It does not have to be either/or. A man can be both smart and a chef. He can be both compassionate and a beast in the boardroom. It is ok to have standards. If you want to date a man that has an advanced degree, hell a four-year degree, it is ok. Why should we feel bad for wanting that? I have gone through the wringers of education and I have suffered and fought the good fight. Why can’t I want a man who has shared in this struggle? A man who appreciates the importance of education. At the end of the day women get a lot of flack for being “picky”. It is not about being picky (well for some women it’s not), but it is about finding YOUR equal and I ain’t never seen a doctor with a janitor… I’m just saying….

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The Anencephalic Infant; Are They People Too?

•October 11, 2012 • 10 Comments

The use of anencephalic infants as an organ source has been a hot button issue for years. Anencephaly is defined as “a central nervous system abnormality that is characterized by congenial absence of the forebrain, skull and scalp”. Infants with anencephaly do not typically live more than a few days. Death is certain in their case. Anencephaly can be determined as early as 12 weeks into the pregnancy at which point parents have the option of whether to abort the fetus or continue the pregnancy.

An Anencephalic Newborn

Many parents opt for abortion, while others opt to carry the fetus to full term in hopes of providing organs for babies who need them. There is an increasing shortage of transplant organs for infants and anencephalic babies have become a source to meet the needs of this shortage. In most cases, brain death must occur in order for organ donation to occur. However, this policy creates problems in the case of the anencephalic infant. How does a physician call time of death when the infant has a functioning brainstem and can essentially eat, sleep and cry? Is it morally and ethically sound to remove organs from these patients while they are still alive?

If we consider a utilitarian approach, then the answer is yes. The classical utilitarian approach has the aim to maximize the common utility of the beings who can enjoy happiness and who can suffer and to minimize the total harm. Here, one could argue that providing organs to babies in need is a great achievement that will benefit a great number of children. Anencephalic babies are a very small part of the population and it is certain that they will die shortly after birth.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that using anencephalic babies as an organ source is immoral and unethical. These views are often times rooted in the Kantian view that humans should not be used as means to an end and that people need to be respected. But are anencephalic infants people? Biologically the answer is yes. Anencephalic infants have the same genetic make up as any other human being. However, modern philosophy characterizes personhood by the functionality of an individual. Kant states that only a person needs to be respected, and a person is someone who possesses rational agents.

According to this analysis, it appears as if the anencephalic infant is not considered a person. If this is true, then why is there still a debate as to whether or not it is ethical to take organs from a living anencephalic patient? I believe this is because society is at odds as to whether an anencephalic infant is a person. It is hard to conceptualize the fact that an infant born alive with a functioning brain stem is not considered a human being. How can one say that a baby who looks like a baby, cries like a baby, sleeps like a baby is not a person?

If the deciding factor of whether a person is in fact a person rests on whether they possess rational agents, what are we to say about the mentally disabled, Alzheimer patients, persons with dementia and those who are in a coma? Are they no longer considered people because they have lost their ability to reason? I am not sure if we can truly come to a conclusion on this matter, however I do believe that one’s “worth” should not be determined objectively but subjectively. Making determinations on when a person is and ceases to be a person can create a slippery slope, one that can have serious ramifications on society.

When Enough is Enough

•September 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

As technology continues to advance, people are becoming more and more reluctant to believe that Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) is irreversible and are therefore more willing to hold on longer to their loved ones. Brain imaging allows physicians to see the structure and function of the brain as well assist them in locating areas of the brain that have been affected by neurological disorders, and to find new treatments for these disorders. It is brain imaging that aids the physician in determining whether a patient is in PVS as opposed to a coma.

Even through the use of brain imaging, achieving 100% accuracy on a diagnosis of a mental state is not feasible. I believe that it is the margin of error that gives people hope that maybe something was overlooked. That like Kate Adamson, their loved one is in a “locked in state” as opposed to PVS and that they too will come back to life.

As hopeful as this all sounds, the question that comes to mind is how much is enough? If a person has been diagnosed with PVS and has been in this mental state for the last seven years, at what point do doctors refrain from administering brain-imaging tests? At what point is the feeding tube removed? How many times do we need to confirm that this patient is “brain dead”? An advocate for the patient may say that doctors and hospitals are to do whatever it takes. If you ask a detached taxpayer, they may say that it has been seven years and enough is enough.

Economics play a large role in this debate. The family wants the medical professionals to do anything and everything possible to keep their loved one alive, but the question must be asked, who is paying for these 10 years of medical services? There is no doubt that the medical technology keeping the patient alive is expensive. So who fits the bill? Another issue is whether or not the resources are being used adequately. America has been in a healthcare crisis for some time now, where people are not able to receive standard medical care because there is not enough money in the health care system. Is it fair to allocate scarce resources in this manner? Is this patient with PVS merely occupying a hospital bed that could have been used for a patient with a better quality of life?

I am not sure if there will ever be a clear and cut answer to these questions. It is a sensitive topic that involves life and death. Some would argue that the patient is already legally dead, while others would argue that the patient is very much alive and are just “trapped”. Regardless of whether or not one believes that the patient in PVS is dead or alive, there needs to be some sort of finality. One would think that the final answer was when a physician declares the patient legally dead by way of brain death, however time and time again we see that this in fact is not the final answer. If this is not the answer than what is? When is enough actually enough?

Female Sterilization the Morbid Solution to Overpopulation

•April 17, 2012 • 2 Comments

Over population has plagued the global world for decades. The earth’s resources are being depleted each and every day. Human consumption is increasing at an alarming rate; cities are over crowded which poses serious threats of sickness and disease. In response to this issue of overpopulation, some countries have decided to take matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, the method of choice involves the victimization of women. This method is called forced female sterilization.

Forced sterilization occurs when a person is sterilized without their knowledge or is not given an opportunity to provide consent. These practices are very common in third world countries where women are uneducated, poor and essentially have no other choice but to comply with the government’s demands. Forcing women into sterilization has often lead them to isolate themselves from their loved ones and society. It has provided them with a life full of grief and despair. It has also caused them to fear medical professionals, and a life full of grief and despair.

“Women from all over the world have been forced or coerced by medical personnel to submit to permanent and irreversible sterilization procedures. Despite condemnation from the United Nations, cases of forced and coerced sterilization have been reported in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Women who are poor or stigmatized are most likely to be deemed “unworthy” of reproduction. Perpetrators are seldom held accountable and victims rarely obtain justice for this violent abuse of their rights”.1

It is alarming to see how an atrocity such as this can often times go unregulated and unpunished. How can the government turn a blind eye to perpetrators who force women into something that should be left solely to their discretion? It is undeniable that social status has always dictated in someway the mores of society. However, this issue of forced female sterilization surpasses societal mores. It is a direct human rights violation. Social status does not reduce the value of a person.

Women are coerced into these sterilization procedures because they are vulnerable. Many of these women are poor, destitute; some are widows who have no one to speak up for them. Others may come from societies where women are not valued and their personhood is based on a man. In order to ensure the effectiveness of female sterilization, many governments’ have found ways to make sterilization a precondition in obtaining employment or even receiving certain health services.

For example a young woman who is pregnant with a loathsome disease may be denied healthcare services if the young woman does not agree to sterilization. In the previous scenario the woman was given a choice and therefore gave consent to the procedure. However this consent was obtained through coercion.

The decision to have the female sterilization procedure is one that carries serious consequences. The main consequence is that a woman may never be able to produce children. This decision should be made on a voluntary basis by a woman. It should never be forced. Many countries around the world have turned to female sterilization to solve their country’s overpopulation issues. For example, in Uzbekistan, Uzbek women are forced to undergo hysterectomies, recommended to them by their doctors as an effective form of contraception. The worst part of this ordeal is that the government administers it. Under the decree, physicians must convince a certain number of women a month to have the procedure or else the physicians face fines and reprimands. Some physicians even sterilize women without their consent by secretly performing the hysterectomies when they are supposed to be doing other surgical procedures.2

Where is the autonomy? In the study of bioethics we examine four principles, one of them being autonomy. Consent is a major part of the principle of autonomy. A person should be able to accept of reject a procedure. A person should have the right to be informed about anything regarding their body or personhood.

Here, in this example of the Uzbek women, it is noted that this life altering procedure is often administered in secret and without their consent. This is a direct violation of the autonomy principle. Some may argue that there are some situations in which overriding one’s autonomy for the greater good is necessary. One may argue that the government in this situation has a compelling interest in sterilizing their woman due to the ongoing issue of over population. However, sterilizing women to reduce overpopulation without their consent does not override autonomy.

It is barbaric and inhumane to take away a woman’s right to procreate especially under such conditions. There are human rights implications for forcing female sterilizations on the vulnerable. I find it to be absolutely absurd that carrying certain disease will get you sterilized in certain countries. For example in Namibia women who have HIV are often sterilized without their consent or under coercion. She went in to deliver her baby, but was told by doctors that because the baby was “too large,” she would have to be sterilized. Doctors stated that if she refused to agree to the sterilization procedure, she would have to give birth without medical care.

Namibia is among the third world countries that subject their woman to these forms of practices. There have been many stories of women going to the doctor’s office for treatment of a disease and leaving sterilized. Many of these women do not even have children and because of this procedure, they never will.2

Where is the justice here? Is it just to deprive a woman her right to procreate? In the United States procreation is a fundamental right that cannot be taken away. However, in these third world countries, rights are not necessarily fundamental and women are left to the mercy of the government or tribe leaders. On a global level this practice is unethical.

Some may argue that bringing a child into the word with HIV is unjust to the child. Some may go further as to say that the child did not consent to live a life with HIV. Although this argument may be valid, at the end of the day the parent has the autonomy to choose whether to bring a child into this world and they have the right to be informed about any procedure regarding their body. It is unjust to take this right away. These dangerous practices violate human rights.

In essence, forced female sterilization violates human rights. It is an inhumane practice that should be viewed as a form of torture. In order to remedy this cruelty, there must be a uniform global policy that sends the message that these practices will not be accepted or tolerated. The physicians need to understand that informed consent is necessary to medical treatment. Although this may not eradicated the problem completely, it may decrease the frequency of the practice.

1. End Forced Sterilizations http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/982/811/175/
2. In Namibia, Being an HIV-Positive Woman Could Get You Sterilized http://news.change.org/stories/in-namibia-being-an-hiv-positive-woman-could-get-you-sterilized

The Right To Purchase Life

•March 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Imagine a vibrant young woman of 25 who has just begun her life’s journey. She has graduated from college and law school and is ready to embark on her career as a budding young attorney. She is lively with lots of friends and makes it a point to go on outings at least once a week. Up until this point in her life, she has done everything correctly and has never been in trouble with the law, not even a speeding ticket. She eats healthy and goes for her annual medical checkups.

Then one day she becomes very ill. She goes to the emergency room where she discovers to her dismay that she is in kidney failure. The doctors tell her that she has to go on dialysis. She will have to receive daily treatments for 10 hours each day. Her life is going to be severely limited. She will have to limit her daily activities. She will have to reduce her stress levels to avoid further health complications. The doctor tells her that perhaps she should even consider only working part time, severely limiting her career progression. Her only options to avoid dialysis are to not perform the treatments and accept death; or get an organ transplant. For this young woman, the first option is not even considered; the transplant is the only viable means for her.

So she asks the doctor, “How soon can I get the transplant?” His response is grim, “4 years.” Unfortunately, she is not sure that she can wait and live that long. So she asks, “Is there any other option?” That’s when he tells her that she can get a living donor and have the transplant within months. So she searches high and low, asking family members and friends. Unfortunately, no one is a match. However, she meets a young man, who is a match and willing to give her his kidney. This kidney would enable her to resume her normal life. He is willing to give her his kidney for a fee of $10,000. Now let us consider the plight of this young woman in light of the four principles of biomedical ethics.

Autonomy
In her article entitled “The Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics: A Foundation for Current Bioethical Debate” Lawrence tells us “to be autonomous requires a person to have the capacity to deliberate a course of action, and to put that plan into action.” The young woman we are discussing is an attorney, which indicates that she has the capacity to deliberate the decision to purchase a kidney and to actually do it. The young man in this scenario also presumptively has the capacity to deliberate the course of action and to put his plan to donate his kidney into action. Both parties survive the test of autonomy, so why shouldn’t this capitalistic transaction be allowed to take place?

Beneficence
In considering beneficence, the moral agent must be acting on their own free will and they are “charged with determining the “good” in a specific scenario or situation, and then weighing that good against the risk of specific actions.” The moral agent in our hypothetical situation is the potential kidney donor. He is acting on his own free will and has volunteered to give his kidney away. There is no direct coercion by the recipient, and we have already established under the principle of autonomy that he has the capacity to make such a decision. However, the situation is not that straight forward when we consider that this young man is asking for money, which may suggest that he is acting of desperation. So although the young woman may not be directly coercing him, the money that she is going to pay him might be too much of an influence to reach the conclusion that that he has been able to thoroughly weigh “the good against the risk of [his] specific actions.” However, the opposite argument to this is that the young man is acting normally because people’s decisions are influence by the prospect of earning money every day.

Nonmaleficence
Primum non nocere. What harm is the young kidney patient doing by purchasing a kidney? Some may argue that because she has the resources to purchase a kidney, she is in a sense purchasing life that another patient, who has perhaps been waiting longer for a kidney, may not be able to afford. This means that the playing field in the organ transplant game will not be level. For those who cannot afford to purchase a kidney, does this mean that they should die prematurely as a result? Is denying them a kidney because they do not have the means to purchase a readily available one not doing them indirect harm? Who is to say that the person with financial means has a life that is more valuable that one without it? The opposing argument to that is that it is very likely that but for the enticement of the $10,000 that the young man is requesting, he would not be offering his kidney to the young woman. Therefore, no one may benefit from this lifesaving donation. Those who cannot afford to pay for the kidney may die as well as those who are in a position to afford it. How is denying two people, instead of one, a life saving measure not doing any harm? Denying this hypothetical young woman a transplant now, does not increase the donor pool for another kidney patient. They will likely still have to continue to wait before they receive a new kidney.

Justice
“An unjust law is no law at all.” When considering the principle of justice, we must “addresses the questions of distribution of scarce healthcare resources, respect for people’s rights and respect for morally acceptable laws.”
Organs are indeed a scarce resource and therefore we must consider if by selling a part of your body, people’s rights are being respected. Is limiting the sale of organs by people with autonomy and no intention to do any direct harm really showing respect for people’s rights? I would argue that it is not. At the heart of respecting people’s rights, we must bear in mind that the decision to sell and purchase this organ was made by two autonomous individuals who have reached an agreement that they both believe will mutually benefit them—the buyer will be afforded the opportunity to live, while the seller will be more financially secure. In fact, by denying the right for them to engage in this transaction, we are disrespecting their right to make decisions about their bodies. People make decisions about their bodies everyday without interference, so why should the sale of organs be any different? We are allowed to choose to sell our blood or even be a surrogate for another person, without interference from the government; selling your organs should be no different.

Then we must consider the issue in justice that deals with having morally acceptable laws. It is difficult for me to understand why the sale of organs is amoral in the eyes of the law. The purpose of the law is to protect us. By inhibiting the sale of organs from living donors, what protection are we providing? Are we preventing people from cutting up their bodies for financial profit? A noble gesture, but at the same time that law may lead to the recipient’s demise. Is a law that may lead to death truly moral?

Conclusion
I would agree with John Harris that “[t]he principles are neither sufficient nor always a useful way of approaching ethics. Instead, …[the] principles become nothing more than a checklist.” An issue such as the sale of a kidney cannot be boxed into one of the four principles. There are many grey areas that do not fit neatly into this schism. I believe that people, especially those enduring life-threatening illnesses, should have a right to life. The ability to purchase a kidney would be an exercise of that right.