Monday, November 06, 2006

A federal organ grab without consent?

Sigfrid Fry-Revere of the Cato Institute writes in the New York Post on November 2nd:

...the Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation is expected to recommend that states adopt policies of "presumed consent" for organ donation.

In other words, authorities could harvest organs from your dead body without prior permission from you or your family.

If the government is really concerned with getting donor organs, it shouldn't rationalize stealing them, it should amend the National Organ Transplant Act to give people incentives for donating them.

The situation is dire. Some 93,000 Americans are now on the list to receive donated organs; last year, fewer than half got them. Twenty Americans die every day waiting for an organ that never comes.

No one seems to doubt that paying people to donate their organs after they die would dramatically increase the number of organs available - but government bodies hesitate to allow it.

Presumed consent would increase the number of organs available for transplantation. So would paying people for their organs. But neither of these is legal, and it's extremely unlikely that either will be legalized in the forseeable future. Both are total non-starters from a political standpoint because both face substantial nationwide opposition.

The LifeSharers incentive is already legal. It is also less controversial than paying for organs or taking them without consent.

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