Everyone has this sacred right to say or do what they want with their body after they die. It’s called bodily autonomy.
For example, let’s pretend I have the world’s most amazing kidneys. I have two scenarios for you.
First one: Governor Malloy is in desperate need of a kidney and I am the only person in the world that can give him a new one. For whatever reason, I decline to donate. So, Malloy doesn’t get my kidney because forcing me to donate would violate my rights. Most of all, it would be downright illegal. (But lbr, if Malloy offered to pay off my student loans in exchange I’d jump right up on the operating table. No hesitation. #MillennialLogic)
Scenario two. Let’s say I happen to be in a freak accident. So, I die. Doctors then find out that my kidney is a perfect match for my imaginary sick neighbor. However, because I never indicated that I wanted to be a donor, doctors can’t take my kidney from my cold dead body. It’s because I never gave consent before I died.
That’s bodily autonomy. Otherwise known as bodily integrity. It ensures that your body’s rights won’t go away after you die. People can’t make you donate when you’re alive, so why should they after you’re dead?
Luckily for my deathly-ill and imaginary neighbor, I am an organ donor. My license has a cute little heart on it and I think it’s grand.
However, one Connecticut politician wants to change the whole system and, well, people ain’t too happy about his proposal.
My Record Journal reports that a man from the Democrats’ reigning political family is behind the measure. Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. wants to automatically enroll every resident as an organ donor. If they don’t want to donate, they now have to opt-out.
Critics are calling this a gross overreach of government.
Sen. Joe Markley sums it up pretty nicely:
“It’s a bill that would seem to indicate that the state owns your body unless you say otherwise.”
However, Kennedy says that is inherently not the case.
“There are people right now who are sitting at home, waiting for a phone call for a possible donor, and meanwhile we’re burying hundreds of people every day with perfectly good organs who could have donated those organs.”
Yeah, how dare those greedy people keep those organs for themselves. They shouldn’t be allowed to make that decision anymore because I know what’s best for everyone!
However, when pressed for more details on why he even proposed this in the first place, his response was a little more head turning:
“I just wanted to put out an idea that would really spark a needed discussion.”
Wait, what? All this just to get people to talk?? Methinks this is not the best way to start a conversation about such a delicate subject. But what do I know? I’m not a politician.
According to Kennedy, 95 percent of American adults support organ donation, yet less than 50 percent have signed up to become a donor.
He also said he knew the bill was controversial.
It’s a bill that essentially says that if you don’t want doctors harvesting your organs after death, you have to make arrangements to make it so.
And people will be upset and also see this as a huge inconvenience. Where do they go to get their name off a list they never wanted to be on in the first place?
Besides, people hate being told what to do. Again, it all has something to do with this beautiful idea called choice. You take that away and, boom, people are picking up the torches and pitchforks.
Plus, bills like that simply don’t work.
European countries have been met with resistance for enacting similar measures. Also, donors went down. Not to mention, all the possible legal ramifications that type of bill carries.
The Connecticut Hospital Association also echoed these sentiments:
“If Connecticut changes to opt-out consent, it seems there would be no reason to engage with or consult families, including if the family objects to the donation, or if the would-be donor is a child.”
In short, if Connecticut forces its millions of residents to become organ donors without their consent, because the state assumes consent, more people are likely to opt out. Makes sense to me.