BioethicsMon Dec 3, 2012 - 3:15 pm EST
Wales considering ‘deemed consent’ for organ donation: plan slammed by pro-life activists
CARDIFF, December 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Welsh government is attempting to pass legislation that would implement a system of presumed, or ‘deemed consent,’ for organ donation.
Critics of the legislation say the bill would turn the concept of consent on its head by opting Welsh citizens into the organ donation system unless they opt themselves out.
Fr. John Fleming of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the organization that is leading the campaign against the bill, said, “The dishonesty here is breathtaking.”
The bill, he said, does not define what “consent” really means, assuming that “deemed” or presumed consent and consent are the same.
“But the whole point of ‘deemed consent,’” Fr. Fleming said, “is that the person has not consented, has not said one way or the other what their views are, but the State will take the organs anyway!”
The Bill proposes to remove the right of the family of incapacitated patients to prevent the removal of organs. Although the patient’s family would be able to present their case, the doctor is under no legal obligation to take their preference into account and may proceed with the removal of organs.
The bill creates sweeping powers allowing the government to declare as a “Welsh citizen” anyone who is a resident of Wales for 6 months or more, which would include foreign students and those visiting Wales who may not speak Welsh or English.
The government has not made clear the process by which Welsh residents or visitors would be informed that they need to formally opt out of the plan. Their own research shows that 46% of people surveyed did not know of plans to pass this Bill and 51% did not support the Government. Pro-life advocates have expressed concerns that the Welsh Assembly may not make sufficient efforts to ensure that these people are made aware that their organs may be taken against their wishes.
The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum states that presumed consent will simply be “added” as a new mode of consent to co-exist with the other forms.
“The effect of this Bill will be to add, for people over the age of 18 who both live and die in Wales a new type of consent to donation, called deemed consent,” it says.
According to SPUC members Michael and Janet Thomas, who are managing the campaign in South Wales, the first and second consultations have been “grossly manipulated”.
Michael Thomas told LifeSiteNews.com that during the second consultation, meetings were held during the Christmas period and at times when people would either still be at work or on their way home. No meetings were held in Swansea and Newport, the second and third largest cities in Wales, until days before the closing date.
“The first consultation received very few written individual submissions but hundreds of petition style letters in favour of Bill, which were counted as individual responses. However, during the third consultation when the opposition used the same tactic, their petition style letters were considered less important” he said.
Mr. Thomas finished by adding, “Morally speaking, ‘deemed’ consent is a fiction; consent not given is no consent.”
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