Why you should care
We asked whether everyone should be required to be organ donors. Here’s what you had to say.
Last week, we asked: Should everyone be required to be organ donors? You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity.
The answer to this question hinges upon the profound question of whether individual freedom trumps the common good. There is little room for debate about whether organs are needed by many people, and there is even less room for debate about whether the presence of organs for those who need them is intrinsically good. The troublesome issue simply comes down to whether that goodness trumps one’s right to make the rather selfish decision to keep one’s organs after passing away.
Kelly M. Adams
I do not think everyone should be required to be an organ donor. However, I think we should switch from an opt-in system to an opt-out one, like much of Europe. The opportunity to be an organ donor is rare and the need for this life-saving gift is great.
Ellen Langston, Ventura, California
Our 15-year-old son was declared brain dead in 1992 when we were living overseas. We decided to donate his organs. It is the best decision parents or other relatives can make for their family when faced with the decision of what to do with a loved one who is brain dead. Our son may have died but his memory lives on in the 7 recipients that received his organs and tissue. I have been lucky enough to meet many of the recipients of our son’s organs and hear how our gift has helped them. It is amazing the comfort we have taken from being donor parents. It has allowed us to be positive rather than focus on our son’s passing.
In the hours after we decided to donate our son’s organs, many tests were run to be sure he was a good donor. Maybe the prospective donor won’t be the best donor for certain recipients but the doctors can decide best if it is better to transplant or not. Our son’s skin might not have been the best match for his severely burned recipient however the donor skin was a vital, albeit temporary, fix for the recipient who had no more usable skin to take grafts from.
Organ donation should be mandatory. There are a lot of lives that could be saved if everyone was screened before death to see if they were suitable donors.
Susan Rixham, West Fenwick, Delaware
I don’t think organ donation should be mandatory. What is needed is more education re: organ donation, not regulation. Sounds Trumponian to me.
Amy Fletcher, Hillsborough, North Carolina
If we are speaking of healthy individuals who are not potentially compromising the receiver’s life or if it does not infringe on one’s religious beliefs, then yes, I believe everyone should be a donor. Perhaps having the default of “organ donor” and then leaving the box to be unchecked by the individual citing why they are opting out might be a better solution.
Brittany Harrington, Moscow, Idaho
Absolutely not. There is already too much commodification of our bodies within this society.
I think the answer to the question if everyone should be required to be an organ donor is rather simple. Organ donation should be the default decision. Opting out should be the active decision that has to be made and properly recorded.
Carol Rothwell, Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Even though donation is important and badly needed, this must remain a personal decision. Forcing donations removes the satisfaction of making an altruistic decision because one chooses to give (not have things taken). I would recommend greater emphasis on signing voluntary pledges and perhaps even rewarding donors’ families in some way. Use the “carrot,” not the “stick.”
Requiring everyone to be an organ donor would be a violation of one’s constitutional right to body integrity. It may also violate the religious beliefs of some.
Lynne Solte, Hollywood, Florida
I’ll start by saying I am an organ donor, a Jewish organ donor. As such, I am “breaking” a tenet of religious law that holds a deceased body sacrosanct and forbids autopsy, cremation, organ removal or any procedure that prevents the body from being buried as whole as possible. While I feel the benefits of organ donation supersede religious tradition and wish everyone would volunteer to do it, many Jews believe it to be a sin and I don’t think it fair to force them to do it. Taken to another level, I do not condone the government telling anyone what they can or cannot do with their own body.
Should everyone be required to be an organ donor? No. I think when one is pronounced dead by a physician, then it is that person’s time to be laid to rest. I don’t believe our life is to be extended, and I don’t think any of my brothers or sisters would appreciate prolonging my death. It is meant to be. Leave well enough alone.