(Do not need answer fast. Just something I wondered about last night when I couldn’t sleep.)
Suppose someone (let’s call her Jill) was in a car accident, and besides lesser damage, her left arm was torn off. It was recovered and sent to the hospital along with her, in the hopes it could be reattached, but no go – the joint was too badly damaged or too much flesh was lost or whatever.
In Real Life, I presume the limb ends up being destroyed, most likely incinerated as medical ‘waste.’ But does Jill have any say in this? The arm belonged to her pre-accident, and so surely it still belongs to her afterwards. Could she insist that it be given back to her?
And if so, is she free to do any legal thing she wants with it? Like she could donate it to that guy who makes the flayed human body art/exhibits. Or she could arrange to have it buried in a cemetery, to have it be added to the coffin when the rest of her dies. (I know there are some groups who care about bodily integrity for the afterlife.)
But what I really wondered is if Jill could put the severed arm up for sale? I’m picturing an ad for “One prime female human arm. One prior owner, carefully cared for, non-smoker, gently used.” Probably eBay would refuse but you could stick it on Facebook or something, and wait for it to go viral.
Presuming Jill reports the income from the sale on the appropriate line of her income tax form that year, has she committed any offense?
Similarly for the buyer, who we’ll call Jack. Is it a crime just to buy the arm? Does it matter what he does with it? He could have it taxidermied into a lamp base, for example. Or just keep it frozen and use it for a Halloween gross-out decoration each year.
But how about eating it then? Outside of the “ew! Ick! Gross!” factor, is that a crime? Say he chops it up, uses it as the flavoring for a nice cassoulet, and shares it with a bunch of other “I’m just curious what it would taste like” gourmets?
Would any laws be broken in doing this? (Since it might depend on the local laws, lets say both Jack and Jill are residents of Massachusetts so no interstate commerce applies, and the exchange happens person to person so no hassles with the Post Office or other delivery co. regulations. )