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August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
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Say No to Default Organ Donations: Opt Out Now

Israel wants to automatically grab your organs after death. JoeSettler says, "Opt-out".
Surgery at Haddasah Ein Karem Hospital (1996)

Surgery at Haddasah Ein Karem Hospital (1996)
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash90

Israel has an organ supply problem.

Organ donation card holder numbers are among the lowest in the western world, with only 13% of the population having signed an organ donation card. In part this has to do with a religious aversion to desecrating the body after death, in a larger part, it’s because organ donation has not been properly promoted.

Many poskim (religious deciders) have come out for organ donation, and have publicly signed organ donation cards.

But I can tell you this, most people in Israel have no idea where to get an organ donation card (I know they have them in hospitals, but I have no idea where else).

In 2008, Israel changed the law and gave preference in receiving organ transplants to people with organ donor cards. This resulted in a jump in donors.

This week, a new government bill proposes to radically change the organ donation market in Israel. It is sponsored, among others, by the token secular MK from Jewish Home, Ayelet Shaked.

This new bill makes my skin crawl.

They are not launching a campaign to promote the concept of organ donation, or to make it easy to find and sign a checkbox authorizing your organ donation.

Instead, the State wants the default intent of a departed person to have been, by law, to donate his or her body parts–unless they had specifically filled out a form that says they didn’t.

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky they’re even letting us opt out at all.

This bill, as it is proposed, is yet another example of the Bolshevik state treating its citizens like chattel.

And yes, I’m aware that many countries have the opt-out system, but the United States, which has a completely opt-in system, has one of the highest signatory rates in the world. Because they make it so easy to sign up or give consent (whenever you renew your driver’s license there’s a check mark on the form), and because they’ve spent a lot of time and money on educating the population on the obvious advantages of keeping other people alive even after we die.

In Israel, where the State reaches into your bank account whenever it wants, it almost makes sense that the next stop would be your body parts. After all, it’s all for the “greater good”.

So I ask you, which “greater good” is next on their list?

My body belongs to me, not to the State.

It is beyond presumptuous on the part of the government to think they have the tacit right to do what they want with my body and my organs.

If they want it, let them convince me, let them promote it, let them make it quick, easy and available to sign up.

But don’t ever presume that the State has the right to grab it away from me without my expressed permission.

I hope this bill does not pass. And if it does, I hope everyone chooses, in protest, to immediately opt-out.

Afterwards, I recommend everyone opts back in, for the benefits, for the huge mitzvah, and because i’ts the right thing to do, for each individual. For the State this is literally a mortal sin.

About the Author: JoeSettler blogs at The Muqata.blogspot.com and occasionally on his own blog at JoeSettler.blogspot.com.


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10 Responses to “Say No to Default Organ Donations: Opt Out Now”

  1. Ronny Mol says:

    What is the Halachic position of the top Poskin on this subject?

  2. Robby Berman says:

    For videos and articles about organ donation in halacha you can go to the Halachic Organ Donor Website (www.hods.org). I'm slightly familiar with it. :-). They are having a 5K Race in Central Park Next Sunday where they are giving away a free round trip airline ticket to Israel and 10 free iPhones. http://www.hods.org/race

  3. Sandra Mark Perlman says:

    Shame on you, JoeSettler for dismissing such an important topic with a comment that you have no idea where to sign up for organ donation. A simple google search would have given you that answer!! I doubt you would be so flippant if you ot a loved one needed an organ transplant.

  4. AC Stubbs says:

    Discalimer. I had cancer I cannot donate.
    Reply this writer must be another anti-zionist tool

  5. It is good to help others, after all you are dead!

  6. Joe Settler says:

    I was being anything but flippant.

    If the government was actually interested in promoting organ donation, then they would actually be going out and promoting organ donation – but they aren't.

    Having me search for a form for something I certainly don't think about on a daily basis, is not promoting organ donation.

    The only place I have ever noticed an organ donation form was in a few (not all) hospital departments (and apparently Aroma according to Robby, but I don't usually go there.).

    So instead, the government wants to take the route that my body is their's to do with what they want – and that is wrong. And that was the point of the post.
    .

  7. Sandra Mark Perlman says:

    I don't necessarily agree with the new proposed bill either but anyone with internet access can easily find out where to sign up for organ donation. That is what I referred to as "flippant".

  8. Joe Settler says:

    You can find ANYTHING on the internet, but that doesn't mean you are going to actually go out and search for it.

    If the government were serious, they would have the Kupot have their doctors and nurses bring up the subject when you go for a doctor's visit – which would be very effective.
    There would be regular ads in the papers.
    There would be a checkbox on you driver's license renewal (I haven't renewed in a while, so perhaps it is there).
    There would be an annual letter from Bituach Leumi explaining the benefits and asking you to sign up.

    They would give HODS money to run regular awareness campaigns among the religious community. (I recall that HODS ran an awareness campaign a year or two ago when they got some well known Rabbis to sign up).

    But have you seen ANY of those things lately. The answer is No.

    The only marketing that I've seen done are occasionally some booths and people handing out flyers in the Malls, trying to get people to signup, and some signup forms in the hospital.

    And thus, the majority of Israelis have very little awareness, and therefore zero reason to go look it up on the internet.

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