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Opt-Outs and Upgrades: Ethics and Law in the United Kingdom

  • TREVOR STAMMERS and MATT JAMES

Abstract:

We report on two areas in which UK law and ethics seem out of step with each other. 2013 saw the passing of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill, which will introduce an opt-out system of organ donation in Wales from 2015. In the first section, we discuss the convoluted evolution of the Bill and some potential problems that we consider may prevent it from achieving its intended goal of increasing the number of organs transplanted. The prospect of being able to enhance human cognition through cognitive-enhancing drugs (“smart drugs”) also presents a nexus of questions associated with future ambitions, hopes, and concerns as a society. How these drugs might affect the future of work and employment is beginning to generate wide public engagement in the UK and forms the focus of the second section.

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1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, along with the Republic of Ireland, together make up the British Isles. Great Britain is made up of Scotland, England, and Wales.

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17. The countries included in the review were Belgium, India, Iran, Israel, Spain, and the United States (at both the federal and the state level). The review focused on specific issues for each country, rather than attempting a detailed overview of every aspect of the legislation governing the donation of bodily material.

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Opt-Outs and Upgrades: Ethics and Law in the United Kingdom

  • TREVOR STAMMERS and MATT JAMES

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