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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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New Organ Donation Law Goes Into Effect


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Lauren’s Law, named for a young girl desperate for a heart transplant whose plight four years ago dramatized the shortage of available organs, is designed to increase that availability. The law went into effect on October 3. A new line on driver’s license applications asks applicants whether they want to be added to New York State’s organ donation registry. Applicants can choose to check either a “No” box or a “Skip this Question” box.

Prior to this new law, applicants could either choose “Yes” or simply ignore the question. However, organ donation advocates, seeking to require some possible rethinking on the applicant’s part, insisted that those not wishing to be added to the registry be required to fill in a “Not At This Time” box.

The measure stalled because, as the Wall Street Journal reported, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had reservations in light of concerns by Jewish religious groups that believe in restrictions on organ donations. “Not At This Time” would be an untruthful statement forced on observant Jews. A “Skip This Question” approach was arrived at which struck an acceptable compromise between religious groups who wanted a clear “No” option and organ-donation advocates who pushed for “Not At This Time.”

We applaud this spirit of compromise and the leadership of Speaker Silver.

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