Monday, March 13, 2023

Embody Right-Left in Body Selling

We’d all be aghast at news of somebody selling their kidney because they need the money to feed their family. Donating a kidney charitably is honorable, but selling a kidney under duress is horrific. What about somebody getting paid to donate blood plasma? Is that morally wrong? What about leasing out your body to carry someone else’s baby to term as a surrogate? Renting out your body for sex?
     The researchers at Virginia Tech and Cornell University weren’t aiming to answer each of those questions as to what is right or wrong. Instead, they explored what influences a person’s opinion of such economic trade of human body parts, and specifically the role of a liberal versus conservative mindset.
     Their inquiry indicated that arguments about potential exploitation of sellers are most influential with liberals in opposing sales of bodies, body parts, and body products. Arguments about corrupting the sanctity of the body are most influential with conservatives. In one of the studies, a group of people identifying themselves as liberals expressed higher willingness to oppose legalizing prostitution after reading, “Prostitution is extremely harmful and coercive to women and children.… Don't legalize prostitution” than did a group of self-identified liberals who read, “Placing a monetary value on the body violates the inherent sanctity of the human body.… Don't legalize prostitution.” For self-identified conservatives, the second phrasing drew higher willingness to oppose prostitution than did the first.
     In another study, participants were asked how much money they’d contribute to Resolve, a real nonprofit which advocates for surrogacy. Of the two appeals designed to assuage concerns, “regulations will ensure that the surrogates receive fair compensation, access to healthcare, and access to legal support” worked better with liberals; “surrogacy will allow more couples to experience the joys of birth and celebrate the sanctity of human life” worked better with conservatives. Additional studies supported the influence of liberal-conservative orientation with judgments of selling blood plasma or a kidney.
     Political scientists at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Rice University say that liberals tend to be physiologically different from conservatives. Liberals have relatively more gray matter in parts of the brain associated with impulse control, while conservatives have relatively more gray matter in parts associated with intense emotional experiences. These are overall tendencies, not true of every individual consumer. Still, having in mind the different brain parts can be useful in persuasion about issues of selling body parts.

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