The States of Jersey Assembly has today passed legislation adopting a ‘soft opt-out’ system for organ donation on the island, similar to the system which has operated in Wales since 2015. This means a deceased person will be assumed to have consented to organ donation unless they have previously opted out and their family members provide no evidence that they wished to opt out. Humanists UK has welcomed this legislation which it is hoped will dramatically increase the number of organs available for donation, saving lives.
This legislation, which passed with 44 votes in favour and only one against, will replace the current ‘opt-in’ system of organ donation, where individuals willing to donate their organs have to sign up to the organ donor register. Currently only 12 percent of islanders have registered as organ donors, despite research suggesting that far more would be willing to donate. The law is now awaiting approval by the Privy Council and then will come into force at a later date.
The passing of this legislation has followed the holding of a consultation on moving to an opt-out system on Guernsey, to which Channel Island Humanists responded, and announcements by the Scottish and Westminster Governments that they intend to introduce this system in Scotland and England, respectively. Last week, Isle of Man politician Martyn Perkins announced that he will introduce a Private Member’s Bill to the Tynwald to bring about a similar change in the Isle of Man.
Humanists UK Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘We are delighted that Jersey is leading the way in moving to a soft opt-out organ donation system. The evidence strongly suggests that this move improves willingness to donate both from individuals and their families, cuts transplant waiting times, and better reflects the will of the majority of people who wish to donate. Most importantly it will reduce the suffering and save the lives of those in need of a transplant.’
States of Jersey Assembly Deputy Louise Doublet, who is also on the committee of Channel Islands Humanists, commented, ‘I fully support the move towards an opt-out system of organ donation in Jersey. This system does no harm, is popular with the public, and can potentially save many lives. I hope that other jurisdictions will follow suit and introduce similar legislation.’
For further comment or information, please contact Rachel Taggart-Ryan on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07951 176 245.
Humanists UK campaigns for a move away from an ‘opt-in’ system of consent to donating organs to a ‘soft opt-out’ system where a deceased person over the age of 16 is presumed to have consented to their organs being donated, unless they had specifically stated otherwise and their family members know of no prior objection. This system is currently in operation in Wales.
Read more about Humanists UK’s work on organ donation: https://humanists.uk/campaigns/public-ethical-issues/organ-donation/
At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.
Channel Islands Humanists is a part of Humanists UK.
Humanists UK recently changed its name from the British Humanist Association: https://humanists.uk/2017/05/22/bha-becomes-humanists-uk