Here’s a perfect example of religion and cultural mythology getting in the way of smart public policy.
According to a study conducted by India-based Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance and the Multi-Organ Harvesting Aid Network (MOHAN) Foundation, even though 80% of people in India are aware of organ donation, only 3% of people say they’re donors.
And 19% of people believe that donating your organs now means you won’t have them in your next life (after you’re reincarnated)… which means the Hindu belief in reincarnation may directly be causing a shortage in organs.
It’s not just reincarnation. The survey found that barriers to organ donation included the belief it was a scam or untrustworthy, family objections, a lack of trust in hospitals, and religious prohibitions. Inefficiencies should always be corrected and criminals must be prosecuted, but everything else is more irrational fear than serious objection. (In the U.S., 7.5% of people cite religion as their reason not to donate organs, according to a 2012 study.)
Bigotry also plays a role in the matter in India:
Many of those surveyed said they would not donate organs to, or receive from, LGBTQ individuals. About 54% of people are in favour of disallowing LGBTQ people from donating organs.
Imagine how much hate must be in your heart if the thought of helping LGBTQ people even after you’re dead goes too far for you.
One of the celebrities who announced the results of the survey also made a pitch for people to donate:
[Actor Rahul] Bose, a registered organ donor, said organ donation is the easiest way to contribute to society. “It doesn’t require your time, skill or money. It requires you, only after your death. Personally, it is a no-brainer.”
That’s exactly right. Donate your organs. There’s no reason not to. You’re not going to need them after you’re gone. Don’t deprive others of a better life out of ignorance or spite.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Terry for the link)