Monday, September 26, 2011

Agreeing with The Archbishop

Good article in today's Western Mail by the Most Rev. Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales about organ donation. He's got it spot on. I am at one with the Archbishop on this.

Let me outline the current legal position, and why I object to changing it. At present, if any individual wants their organs to be made available to others in need after a pronouncement of death, he or she carries a donor card which makes this clear. I carry such a card, have done for decades, as does the Archbishop. The Welsh Government want to change the law so that it will be deemed by the state that all wish to donate organs unless they specify that they do not - that they have to 'opt-out' rather than have to 'opt-in'. In passing I must note that this issue was used in the run-up to the 'powers referendum' last March in what I thought was a deeply immoral way. And there is uncertainty (in my mind if no-one else's) about whether the Welsh Government has the power to do this. Nevertheless we are told to expect a 'white paper' before Xmas.

The reason I have long carried a card in my wallet at all times is that I believe it would be a Christian and noble gesture to allow my organs to be used if they would be of help. I often suggest to others that they might do the same. After careful consideration I have accepted that the state should in some circumstances force individuals to consider this issue by decaring whether they wish to donate or not - driving licence, census etc. But I do not accept that the state should be allowed to make assumptions about the will of individual citizens in respect of their own body parts.

The Archbishop makes the point that 'presumed consent' means in effect that our body parts belong to the state, unless we specify otherwise. Neither he nor I believe this is 'right' in any moral sense. Even worse it means that the state will be able to take body parts from people who did not wish it to do so - simply because they had not got around to registering their objection, as currently many do not register their approval (unless it is assumed that everyone would wish to donate). Further, at present the state has an interest in encouraging people to think about this matter. Under 'presumed consent' the state's interest will be for there to be no publicity and no knowledge of the system. And I simple do not accept that the undoubted good intentions of those proposing the change of law will last even a generation. Its wise always to 'follow the money' - follow the interest. And for me its also that I know its wrong - like euthanasia, assisted suicide, casual abortion etc. Its just wrong - and the convenience of the state will never make it right.


Alwyn ap Huw said...

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my body to Carwyn and Co!

Anonymous said...

I think presumed consent should be law across the UK. Too many people die waiting for a transplant for us to sit back and do nothing. Google Jessica Wales and read her story. She waited too long for a double lung transplant, in the end while she got new lungs she was too ill to survive.