There are some ethicists who believe all organ donations must be mandatory and the option to opt out of the program should only be granted in limited conditions concerning religious beliefs or impaired mental state of the donor at the time of death.
The assumption upon death should be the organs of the deceased belong to the corpus of humanity and — as a matter of believing in each other — those organs must be recycled to keep the ill alive.
The healthy do not need healing, but it is always the healthy majority that decides the fate of the infirm minority.
The idea of mandatory organ donation has been kicked around since 1987 in an attempt to save 2,000 lives a year in the United States that die waiting on the organ transplant list:
Dr. Nelson cited research by the United Network for Organ
Sharing that said 2,077 people died in 1990 while waiting for a
transplant. Studies also show that 3,000 people are awaiting heart and
liver transplants and an estimated 30 percent of them will die waiting,
he said. In addition, 19,000 people are candidates for renal
transplants, and 30,000 people currently receiving dialysis also could
benefit from a new kidney, he said.
Dr. Nelson said a 1978 Georgia law could serve as a model. It provides
that, upon a request from an eye bank, an eye or a corneal tissue may
be removed from a newly-dead person as long as the person had raised no
advance objection and none is raised by relatives.
If we truly belong to each other
— and without each other we would perish — why should that covenant
not be continued in the event of a death that provides harvestable
Forensic pathologist H.E. Emson contends that since our
bodies are “on loan to the individual from the biomass” and constitute
“a unique and invaluable resource”, control over cadavers should be
vested in the government as a trustee for potential organ recipients.
The HOD Society disseminates information regarding Halachic
issues and Rabbinic opinions concerning organ donation and offers card
carrying membership in a society that allows people to donate organs in
accordance with their particular Halachic belief.
We have mandatory vaccine policies. We have mandatory ages set for
driving and for the purchase of alcohol. We have mandatory quarantines
for certain illnesses. All those mandates were created to serve the
greater good beyond selfish individual interests.
Why not have mandatory organ donations as the default interaction
between the living and the dead for the greater goodness in all of us?