Des reins à vendre ?

PRINCETON – L’arrestation le mois dernier à New York de Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, un homme d’affaires de Brooklyn accusé par la police d’avoir tenté d’organiser l’achat d’un rein pour 160.000 dollars, a coïncidé avec l’adoption à Singapour d’une loi qui pour certains devrait ouvrir la voie à la vente d’organes dans cette ville. L’an dernier, le magnat singapourien Tang Wee Sung avait été condamné à une journée de prison pour avoir accepté d’acheter illégalement un rein. Il reçut par la suite un rein provenant d’un meurtrier exécuté – ce qui, bien que légal, est peut-être plus douteux d’un point de vue éthique que l’achat d’un rein, puisque ce procédé crée une incitation pour la condamnation et l’exécution des criminels accusés d’un crime capital.

Aujourd’hui, Singapour a légalisé la rémunération des donneurs d’organes. Officiellement, cette rémunération ne doit servir qu’à couvrir les coûts encourus ; le versement d’un montant constituant une « incitation excessive » reste interdit. Mais ce qui pourrait être « incitation excessive » n’est pas précisé.

Ces évolutions soulèvent à nouveau la question de savoir si la vente d’organes doit être pénalisée ou pas. Rien qu’aux Etats-Unis, quelques 100.000 personnes ont besoin d’une transplantation chaque année, mais seulement 23.000 en obtiennent une. Près de 6000 personnes meurent avant d’obtenir un organe de substitution.

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