Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Cass Sunstein: People Should Have to Donate Organs

It's one thing to encourage organ donation. It's another to advocate taking people's organs if they haven't explicitly said not to do so.

Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), has advocated a policy under which the government would “presume” someone has consented to having his or her organs removed for transplantation into someone else when they die unless that person has explicitly indicated that his or her organs should not be taken.

Under such a policy, hospitals would harvest organs from people who never gave permission for this to be done.

I can't imagine how family members would feel having their loved one's organs harvested without their consent. This policy seems to violate a variety of religious prohibitions as well as just common decency.

And then there's the fact that the plan could discourage the hiring of poor and minority workers.