The Body Market: Race Politics & Private Ordering

39 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2010

See all articles by Michele Goodwin

Michele Goodwin

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: August 17, 2010


In this article, Goodwin challenges the presumption that organs should always and only be altruistically acquired and takes on the well-worn race card rhetoric in the organ transplantation domain. The author describes “race card politics” as attempts to exploit race and obfuscate meaningful public policy debate on alternative organ procurement regimes. The author critiques race as a proxy in organ transplantation disclosure and illustrates why race-based opposition to compensation for organ sharing ignores organ demand, particularly from African American patients. Goodwin argues that lifesaving advancements in biotechnology to treat illnesses have outpaced the legislative process and suggest that regulated markets in human biological supply could better meet organ demand. She suggests that a transformative approach to organ transplantation might relieve organ demand, increase access for transplant candidates of color, and better achieve social justice. The author concludes by offering several strategies to increase the supply of organs and suggesting several key measures that might lead to more effective organ procurement.

Keywords: law, society, economics, medicine, health care

Suggested Citation

Goodwin, Michele, The Body Market: Race Politics & Private Ordering (August 17, 2010). Arizona Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 599, 2007; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 38. Available at SSRN:

Michele Goodwin (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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