Thursday, January 24, 2008

Delaware: Even in Death, A Nanny State

Ripped from today's headlines: "On Wednesday, Rep. Peter C. Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, introduced legislation to automatically make people donors unless they opt out." "As long as people have the ability to opt out of the organ donation program, it's OK to make the change, said Arthur Caplan, chairman of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania." "If the only people bothered by the registration turn out to be from a small religious sect or from some libertarian [mind-set], I'm not sure that justifies keeping the burden the way it is now," he said. "The burden is unfairly distributed right now."

Well, color me one of those "libertarian" mind-sets -- how is the burden unfairly distributed? The government currently asks me permission to dismember and use parts of my body once I'm dead... That certainly sounds like a fair distribution of burden there to me. Instead, he'd rather have the government assumed permission to rip someone apart without their consent, unless they specifically are informed and make the time to go and opt out.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm one of the 90% of Delawareans that believe organ donation is a good thing and I even have the heart on my license indicating my donor status; however, this follows too closely in the wake of the UK's similarly proposed program that gives me reason to pause in caution.

Since England is one of the worst offenders of legislating life in the known world, it should, hopefully, give ANYONE pause to see that Delaware is following suit.

As for alternative options, I can think of several... Create a policy, law or ordinance where:
  1. Each time you renew your license, the DMV agent MUST ask you if you'd like to opt in.
  2. Each time you go through inspection, the DMV agent MUST ask you if you'd like to join in.
  3. Each time you register to vote or change your party affiliation, the DMV agent MUST ask you if you'd like to opt in.
  4. Each time your registration expires and you need to renew it, the DMV agent MUST ask you if you'd like to opt in.
Do you see the commonality in all of these? The burden remains where it should remain: on the state to BE GRANTED PERMISSION to use my body, instead of assuming that right.

"Under a 2001 state law that upholds the decision of Delaware residents who make a documented gift of donation, the family of a designated donor cannot revoke the donor's consent after death."

I could see this law seriously being challenged if we did see a shift of assumed consent to the state, and rightly so. Perhaps a newly immigrated member of a 'small religious sect' that Caplan seems to unconcerned with is unaware and, upon death, the hospital tells the family they'll be harvesting their dearly departed's organs with no form of recourse. I can only imagine the devastation.

Delaware, even in death, has the legislative mindset of a nanny state.

4 comments:

NPR Junky said...

I'm with you, baby. I just re-checked my DE license this past weekend to make sure I am a donor (I am) but it scares the bejesus out of me that you'd have to OPT OUT. Fabulous.

Rob said...

I was listening to Rick Jensen on WDEL yesterday and 99% of the massive amount of callers they had were very firmly against it. Hoping the legislation listens to the people this time around.

PS. Checked out your blog -- love the pictures you find. Though, being a new iPod owner myself, I find the iToiletPaperRack oddly appealing. ;)

Shirley Vandever said...

I definitely agree with you ! This is nuts. I believe that it will be handily defeated as long as people keep the pressure up and are vocal about it.

Mike W. said...

"Do you see the commonality in all of these? The burden remains where it should remain: on the state to BE GRANTED PERMISSION to use my body, instead of assuming that right."

I couldn't agree more! If I give them permission then fine, but the fact that they're assuming it's OK as long as I don't object is basic nanny-statism.

I'm an organ donor as well.