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Welsh organ donor bill to become law: The Church of England Newspaper, August 11, 2013 August 16, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Secretary of State for Wales will not block approval of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill, allowing the UK’s first programme that gives presumed approval for organ donation unless an individual makes a public declaration to opt out has been sent to Her Majesty the Queen for Royal Assent.

On 2 July 2013 the Welsh Assembly approved the bill over the objections of church and civil society groups, who argued the new law was an ill-considered assault on civil liberties. However, the Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford in June stated the law was needed to provide more organs.

There were not “enough organs for people who need them. About one person every week dies in Wales while on a waiting list. We have been working to improve the rate of organ donation and have had some success, but we’re looking to take the next step forward,” he said, adding that “around a third of the Welsh population is on the organ donor register, but well over two-thirds in surveys say they are happy to be organ donors. That other third is people who don’t get round to putting their names down. We’re hoping to make inroads into that.”

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev. Barry Morgan, had led the opposition to the bill saying it gave too much power to the state. While he supported organ donation, it “ought to be a gift of love, of generosity. If organs can be taken unless someone has explicitly registered an objection, that’s not an expression of love. It’s more a medical use of a body,” he told The Guardian.

Michael Wendell Thomas, vice-chairman of SPUC’s Wales region, on 2 August 2013 said the “collective weight of opinion has demonstrated that implementation of the Bill will be fraught with risk.”

“The case for ‘deemed consent’ as a valid form of consent was not investigated by the Welsh Assembly’s Health or Legislative Committees. The only basis for this kind of law is that the Welsh Government has deemed it so,” he said.

“To the ordinary non-lawyer, ‘deemed consent’ is a meaningless idea; to many eminent or expert people, such as the Archbishop of Wales, it is a ‘fiction’. True consent is explicit and voluntary, and is the only sound basis for laws concerning personal autonomy and permission to remove someone’s organs,” Mr. Wendell Thomas said.

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