Thanks to a welcome change in the law, England has adopted an organ donation system that presumes you’re an organ donor unless you or a loved one say otherwise.
The sensible change, which goes into effect today, will inevitably save lives. As it stands, while 80% of adults in the country say they would consider organ donation, only 40% have taken the steps to sign up as donors. In Wales, where a similar law has been in effect since 2015, donation rates are an astonishing 75%. The new law will cut down on transplant waiting times and help bridge the gap between those who need organs and those able to donate. It does not apply to children, people visiting the country, or anyone lacking mental capacity.
While conspiracy theories abound about supposed organ harvesting and doctors willing to let you die because your organs are needed more than you, the opposition to this kind of bill tends to focus on how people oppose “government control” of their bodies after death.
The law is called Max and Keira’s law, after a boy whose life was saved when he received the heart of a nine-year-old girl who died in a car crash.
Family consent will still be required for organs or tissues to be retrieved, both out of consideration for the family, and to make sure additional relevant information is gathered.
Though when you’re dead, who the hell cares? Refusing to be an organ donor is a selfish act. If you can help someone else when you’re gone, and you explicitly choose not to, what the hell are you thinking?
Humanists UK welcomed the change, as they’ve been campaigning for it for years. It’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, “The new, evidence-led opt-out law provides a more humane and rational approach for the 21st century which will save countless lives. For humanists, who don’t believe in an afterlife, there can be no better legacy.”
At least England won’t need to run ads like this to get people to do the right thing.
(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier)