The New York Times
May 2, 2010, 7:00 pm
By THE EDITORS
"A New York assemblyman has introduced a bill aimed at making the state the first to presume people want to donate their organs unless they specifically say otherwise. Under current law, people give permission to donate their organs by checking a box on their driver’s licenses or filling out a donor card.
The legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Westchester Democrat, is in two parts: the first step would end the right of the next of kin to challenge the decisions of their dead or dying relatives to donate their organs.
In a second measure, which is far more contentious, people would have to indicate in official documents — their driver’s licenses, most commonly — that they specifically don’t want to donate organs. If the box is not checked, it is presumed the person wants to donate.
What are the ethical and practical issues involved in changing the law? Is a “presumed consent” system an effective way to increase the number of organs available, and thus save lives, or will it deter public support for donation? "
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