Today, Edwina Hart, still Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Assembly Government announced that she wants to introduce an opt-out, rather than an opt-in system of organ donation. This was a fully expected announcement. Mrs Hart had told us previously that she wants to introduce a system of 'presumed consent - and she likes to get her own way. There has been a 'consultation' exercise, which delivered exactly the response that it was designed to. Now, there is absolutely no argument about the need to increase the level of organ donation, but I do not believe that this is the right way to deliver it. It will be a case of 'government' taking people's organs because they didn't get around to saying they did not want then to be taken. But this post is not about the principle. That argument was lost when the Minister made her decision many months ago.
This post is about what happens next. Its the first time I have to consider a difficult moral issue - for real. To deliver on the Minister's intention, the next step will require the National Assembly to propose a Legislative Competence Order facilitating the transfer of the power to make this change of policy from the UK Parliament to the National Assembly for Wales. And it could easily be that consideration of this LCO by MPs will occur after the next General Election - and it could be that by then I'll be one of these MPs!! It might not just be me expressing my opinion on a blog. It could be for real. Blimey.
Now what does an MP who shares with me the following two opinions do? Firstly, that law making powers in devolved policy areas should be transferred to the National Assembly - and secondly, that presumed consent, a system that I consider to be morally wrong, and practically dangerous, should not be introduced. I suppose party discipline could cloud the issue - but it shouldn't, on what is a moral issue. And there's no room in this post to explore all the trans-border issues if Wales goes it alone.
Early days, but my initial inclination would be to support the transfer of the power to introduce presumed consent in Wales to the National Assembly - while arguing that AMs should oppose any subsequent measure. There's a big problem with this stance though. It might seem entirely logical to me, but I fear it would be a difficult position to explain to John Humphreys. "Explain to me Mr Davies, why you want to hand over power to another body which would immediately use it to introduce a system of which you disapprove? Tough question. Exciting prospect. Which is why I cannot understand all these MPs opting out of the opportunity to be involved in such decision making.