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Opt-out organ donation law comes into force in Jersey

A reminder of the importance of organ donation. Male hands holding heart with a message that reads: Organ donor.

A new opt-out organ donation system that presumes a person to have consented to donating their organs after death, unless they have specifically opted out, comes into force in Jersey today.

Channel Islands Humanists, which campaigned for this move from an ‘opt-in’ to the so-called ‘soft opt-out system’, said the change will undoubtedly save many lives and reduce suffering, as there will be more organs available for those who need them.

The change means that a deceased person will be presumed to have consented to organ donation unless they have previously opted out, or their family knows of any undeclared wish to do so. A survey in England showed that under the previous opt-in system, despite 80% of people there being willing to donate their organs, only 39% actually opted in.

The law comes into effect today after it was passed last year by the States of Jersey Assembly. Wales has had a similar system in place since 2015, and England and Scotland approved their own legislation earlier this year.

Humanists do not believe that respect for the dead constitutes any reason to object to allowing a deceased person’s organs being used to help others, except when the deceased has expressed a contrary wish.

States of Jersey Assembly Deputy Louise Doublet, who is also on the committee of Channel Islands Humanists, commented: ‘This change is great news for Jersey as it will undoubtedly save many lives. It is a sensible and rational approach to reducing suffering. The evidence shows this type of opt-out system cuts waiting times and most importantly, more people who need a transplant are able to have one.’

Notes:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078.

Read about Jersey’s new organ donation system.

Read our previous news item on the Jersey opt-out system.

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaigns work on organ donation.

Channel Islands Humanists is a part of Humanists UK, the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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