Does our law tend to accept the concept of the body as a thing?

Speaking historically, our law reached a decisive step when it began to consider the human person as an unbreakable, indivisible unity, and in consequence, the human body was not a disposable thing. This non-disposability means that the body cannot be made the object of a contract, a transaction, a sale or be made an instrument.

Awareness of the non-disposability of the body nourished movements fighting for the abolition of slavery. We also rightly consider legalization of slavery just plain nonsense.

We also find awareness of the non-disposability of the human body at the root of opposition to White Slave Trade. Again it is this awareness which since the l9th century has been the source of justification for workers' rights to better working conditions: The laborer is not a machine. It is this same awareness that is particularly affirmed in some feminist movements combating the myth of woman as an object.

Nevertheless, it is precisely this distinction between the world of men and the world of things that some are actually calling into question. Such questioning is the fatal price of a narrow concept of freedom that reduces the body to an object of pleasure.

Such questioning also results from certain derivatives of technological thinking. In effect, many practices clearly treat as objects not simply tissues and organs of the body, but bodies themselves.

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