Assemblyman Pat Burke (D-Buffalo) of Buffalo, NY has introduced a bill that would “automatically register residents 18 and older as organ and tissue donors unless they choose to opt out of the registry.”1 (The state of New York currently has the third highest need for organ donors in the U.S. and the second lowest percentage of enrollment.)
The proposed legislation would leave a space on driver’s license applications for people to opt out if they wished and would still allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register to donate their organs. (Although 16 and 17-year-olds would have to opt-in.)
However, reaction to his bill was swift. So swift that Burke was forced to release a statement Saturday evening:
“It feels as though clearing up misinformation on the internet has become a large part of my job. I did not submit a proposal to harvest people’s organs after they die and I did not submit a proposal to have an automatic organ donor program for every New Yorker.
This proposal is meant to spark the conversation about the importance of organ donation. If this proposal became law, it would change the question on a New York State driver’s license application from an opt-in question to an opt-out question. Under this proposal, driver’s license applicants over the age of eighteen would have to opt-out by saying ‘no’ to being an organ donor. The application would not be complete until this question was answered.
There are thousands of New Yorkers currently on the waitlist for a life saving organ. I believe this minor alteration on a NYS driver’s license application would increase the amount of people registered as organ donors in our state and could potentially save the lives of people waiting for a donor.
I do not intend to move forward with this proposal until it has earned significant public support, but it is my hope that it draws attention to the need for everyone to register as an organ donor. People can choose to donate the gift of life at https://donatelife.ny.gov/register/.”1
Although the assemblyman said he wanted to start a conversation about organ donation registry, does this seems more like coercion or manipulation? And what’s your take/opinion on donation? Are you an organ donor? If so, why? And if not, why not?