Catholics, Jews decry bill to ‘harvest’ human organs
The Catholic League aligned recently with several Jewish organizations against a bill which would allow the government a stronger hand on what to do with human organs after a person has died.
The bill, which is sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, would in effect disable the next of kin from challenging decisions of their dead or dying relatives regarding the donation of their organs, the New York Times said.
This becomes contentious when the government has the right to presume that a person is willing to donate their organs unless they specifically state “no” in official documents, most commonly their driver’s license.
Under current law, a donor must indicate permission on their driver’s licenses with two witnesses present. Or, a donor may fill a donor card. If the bill is passed, the government may presume the person is willing to donate body organs if the box on the driver’s license indicating “no” is left blank, the Eurasia Review noted.
It is potentially possible under this bill that a person may be dying and incapable of communicating. If the driver’s license does not indicate otherwise, the government will presume the person’s organs are up for donation, and the next of kin would not be able to challenge this.
Brodsky’s bill is being challenged by Assemblyman Dov Hikind who has launched a campaign against it, with the support of the Rabbinical Alliance of America (with over 800 members nationwide), The National Council of Young Israel (with 146 branches nationwide) and The Catholic League, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Under Jewish tradition, people are discouraged from donating their organs except when it is urgently needed.
While Hikind expressed support for voluntary organ donation, he expressly disagrees with the government having the power of presumed consent. If the bill is passed, New York will be the first state to implement it.
William Donohue wrote, in the Eurasia Review, “It is one thing for someone to exercise informed consent and voluntarily donate his or her organs, quite another for the state to assume it has a right to them unless stipulated otherwise. The state does not have a lien on our bodies. Indeed, to assume it does is morally obscene.
“Have we not seen enough evidence in the past one hundred years of what happens when agents of government assume a mantle of authority over the life and limbs of innocent persons? This kind of utilitarian calculus always winds up punishing the least among us while rewarding the stronger.”