The Welsh Government has published a draft Bill to introduce an opt-out organ and tissue donation system in Wales. The move has been welcomed by the British Humanist Association (BHA) as a ‘progressive and potentially life-saving proposal’.
Under the proposed legislation, deceased individuals will be presumed to have consented to donating their organs on their death, unless they have expressed an objection during their lifetime. The deceased’s next of kin will continue to have a role in the process, and there will be safeguards to protect children, people who do not live in Wales and those who do not have the capacity to give informed consent.
The Welsh Government also intends to accompany the legislation with a comprehensive education programme on organ donation and how to register an objection.
The BHA responded in support of the proposals to an initial consultation, which ran between November 2011 and January 2012, and encouraged members and supporters in Wales to do likewise. A further consultation has now been launched on the Draft Bill.
Commenting on the launch of the consultation, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:
‘We strongly welcome the Welsh Government’s lead in this area, and the example they have set for the rest of the UK. This progressive legislation has the potential to benefit society by increasing the level of organ donation, resulting in more lives saved, and also reducing the demand for illegally trafficked organs.
‘Regrettably, these proposals have previously been opposed in a joint submission by the Anglican Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Bishops in Wales and a representative of an Orthodox Church. We believe it is important to stress the facts of the proposals, and that a soft opt-out system provides rigorous protection for people who are opposed to organ donation for themselves, and also for their recently deceased love ones.’
For further comment or information, contact Andrew Copson on 07534 248596
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.