My opinion is no more settled than it was this morning. This is despite spending an hour and more at what I can only describe as an Assembly Government sponsored 'discussion' in Newtown. The subject was 'Presumed Consent'. The basic question is whether following death, human body organ donation should be carried out unless the deceased has a way of expressing an opinion that he or she did not want it to happen.
The Assembly Health Minister has already expressed a 'personal view' that this should be the position. Today's discussion was constitutionally odd - the Minister checking with the people before translating her 'personal view' into law. Gordon Brown and Rhodri Morgan have expressed the same personal view as Edwina Hart. I pointed out that a cross party Assembly Committee takes an opposing opinion. The problem as I see it is that if 'presumed consent' were to be adopted, there would be many organs removed from dead people who would not have wanted their bodies mutilated. I'm not at all sure that this is morally acceptable. The response that its the recently deceased responsibility to carry an opt-out card seems highly questionable to me.
I learnt some interesting facts today. In no particular order.
People waiting on a transplant list are more likely to die as waiting than to receive the transplant that they need.
Spain, (which has a 'presumed consent' policy), has a higher level of organ donation than any other country. However, it was administrative changes which raised the level rather than the 'presumed consent' policy itself.
The discussion is about organ donation policy, and is not about where the organ distribution policy, or about where organ receivers live in the UK.
In the US, more organs are taken from the bodies of the living than the dead.
I still believe that Government should take more seriously the job of persuading people to carry donation cards, and that the focus of Government policy should remain on promoting agreed organ donation. But I can see that its not easy. One final point. If we are going to go down the 'presumed consent' route, I would much prefer it to be done on a UK basis.