Emory Law Journal


In the absence of clarity about the legal status of the human body, courts have constructed a collection of circumstantially defined categories for resolving the question of human body ownership and use. This patchwork approach is awkward, unwieldy, incoherent, and, by many lights, ultimately unjust. Many able minds have been applied to critiquing the distributive consequences of a regime in which we cannot-at any point in our lives-"own" our own bodies (or its constituent parts), but other people can and do. But what has been missing from these conversations is a conceptual foundation for understanding the living human body as property.