Can’t sell own body

Despite the title, this post does not regard prostitution, but instead the actual sale of one’s own body or body parts.


Section 291-A:16 Sale or Purchase of Parts Prohibited. –

I. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph II, a person that for valuable consideration, knowingly purchases or sells a part for transplantation or therapy if removal of a part from an individual is intended to occur after the individual’s death commits a felony and, notwithstanding RSA 651:2, upon conviction shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both.

II. A person may charge a reasonable amount for the removal, processing, preservation, quality control, storage, transportation, implantation, or disposal of a part.

If one truly owns their own body, would they not be able to contract with another to sell it after their death?  Surely, a market exists for cadaver tissue.  In fact, it is quite lucrative, as detailed in this article with the subtitle, “Everyone’s making money in the market for body tissue — except the donors”:

Mastromarino had netted $4.6 million in three years of back-room dissections. He paid undertakers $1,000 a pop for providing access to the dead, paid cutters $300 to $500 for extracting the most marketable parts, and, according to his lawyer, managed to take home up to $7,000 per body. (One of Mastromarino’s former employees contends the boss was pulling in double that.)

This legislation deprives individuals who do not care what happens to their body post-mortem of significant income.  Conversely, it increases the profitability of tissue harvesting businesses, as they do not have to pay for their “raw material”.  I would not be surprised if any of these companies have lobbied legislators to ensure that selling one’s own body parts is kept illegal.  This law should be repealed, allowing individuals to benefit by receiving their fair share of the profits from the tissue recycling industry.

Interestingly, the particular wording in the NH law: “if removal of a part from an individual is intended to occur after the individual’s death”  would seem to create a loophole wherein it may actually be legal to sell ones non-essential organs, such as a spare kidney or patches of skin.


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