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Humanists UK calls for opt-out organ donation in the Isle of Man

Take Action! Respond to the Organ Donation (Isle of Man) Bill 2018 consultation on introducing an opt-out organ donation system on the island. The deadline for responses is Friday 8 June. Read Humanists UK’s response to help you draft your own. Responses from Isle of Man residents are particularly sought.

Humanists UK in conjunction with Richard Norman, Professor Emeritus of Moral Philosophy at the University of Kent, has responded to a consultation held by the Isle of Man government on introducing an opt-out organ donation system on the island, similar to the system that currently operates in Wales. Humanists UK supports the introduction of this system which will increase the number of organs available for transplant, saving lives.

The consultation will help determine the terms of a private member’s’ bill, which will be introduced to the House of Keys, the island’s legislative body, by MHK Martyn Perkins. Currently only 15% of islanders are registered with the NHS Organ Donor Register. Polling has consistently shown that the majority of people are willing to donate their organs after death but many fail to register this intent.

If this bill finds political support it would mean that all parts of the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies are either committed to or considering introducing this system, with the exception of Northern Ireland where, despite support from most of the major political parties, a private member’s bill to introduce it was rejected in January 2016.  Since the introduction of opt-out organ donation in Wales, more governments across Europe, including France, have adopted similar policies, with the Parliament of the Netherlands passing legislation on this issue in February this year.

Humanists UK, which successfully campaigned for the introduction of opt-out organ donation in Wales and has been supporting the introduction of similar registers in Scotland, England, and the Channel Islands.

Humanists UK Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘We are delighted that the Isle of Man is considering moving to an opt-out organ donation system. The evidence strongly suggests that this move improves willingness to donate both from individuals and their families, cuts transplant waiting times, and better reflects the will of the majority of people who wish to donate. Most importantly, it will reduce the suffering and save the lives of those in need of a transplant. We urge Isle of Man residents to respond to this consultation and call for a rational and evidence-based approach to organ donation.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Rachel Taggart-Ryan on rachel@humanism.org.uk or 0781 55 89 636.

Respond to the Isle of Man consultation here: https://consult.gov.im/office-of-the-clerk-of-tynwald/organ-donation-bill-2018/

Read Humanists UK’s response here: https://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018-04-06-RTR-Isle-of-Man-Organ-donation-consultation.pdf

Read more about Humanists UK’s work on organ donation: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/public-ethical-issues/organ-donation/

Humanists UK campaigns for a move away from an ‘opt-in’ system of consent to donating organs to a ‘soft opt-out’ system where a deceased person over the age of 16 is presumed to have consented to their organs being donated, unless they had specifically stated otherwise and their family members know of no prior objection. This system is currently in operation in Wales.

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

Humanists UK recently changed its name from the British Humanist Association: https://humanism.org.uk/2017/05/22/bha-becomes-humanists-uk

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