Sunday, 25 September 2011

Organ Donation: Opt In or Opt Out...the debate begins

I have to confess that I have strange hobby of keeping an eye on what is going on over at the Welsh Assembly.

Since its conception in the Government of Wales Act 1998 following a referendum in 1997, the Welsh Assembly has reminded me of Lib Dem conferences in years gone by for having a tendency for discussing trivia and debating issues that the general public could not care less about, like when Assembly time was given to discussing the merits of whether Charlotte Church should win rear of the year.

This week however, I noticed that the Welsh Assembly are planning to issue a white paper in the Autumn on presumed consent on Organ Donation.

At present the UK adopts an opt in policy on Organ Donation but if this white paper becomes law in Wales then it would reverse to become and opt out policy and for those to chose not to opt out then the law would assume that you have given presumed consent to donate your organs.

A change in the law is one that I would fully support especially as there is a shortage in organ donation especially within ethnic minority communities.

I know a change in the law would raise huge civil liberties debates and there would also be the religious arguements as well.

I am a passionate believer in civil liberties and as long as there was an opt out facility then I do believe these arguments have been answered. If this white paper should become law then I also believe that there needs to be a widespread advertising campaign so that every family would be having this debate to ensure an informed decision can be made.

Those against such plans always point to the fact that the state has no business owning your body. This arument falls down for me as in any death the coronor always owns the body until they pass the body back to the family a coronors are employd by the state.

Whatever the final outcome, I just hope that parties give Assembly members a free vote on the issue. Should this become law in Wales I think this could follow suit in the rest of the UK.

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