Axver (axver) wrote,

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An important issue: organ donation

The news this evening broadcast a story about a call to introduce an "opt out" scheme for organ donation in Australia to replace our current "opt in" system. This follows a similar proposal being put forth in the UK, and the successful implementation of such a system in Spain. The Health Minister has nonetheless ruled out an "opt out" approach for now, and I have noticed one thing - nobody seems to have come forth with a reasonable case against an "opt out" system (it seems the main argument is that Australia's just not ready for it), or for that matter, a reasonable case against organ donation.

I cannot think of a single logical reason why someone would not wish to donate their organs after their death. I occasionally hear someone state that they have legally lodged their intent to not donate, but this is never followed by an explanation as to why. In the couple of Internet forums where I have had the chance to question someone on this matter, they have either not posted again or dodged/ignored the question entirely. Come on. You're dead. You don't need the organs; they're not of any benefit left in your body. If you want to have an open viewing at your funeral, there is no external evidence that you're missing some of your insides. I'll go as far as saying that opting out is a decidedly selfish and stupid move, especially as it seems objectors are incapable of providing a persuasive argument in their favour. I'm willing to reconsider and publicly retract my accusation of stupidity though, so if you object and think you have a good reason, please, speak up. I'd like to hear it.

The argument against donation that I do hear regularly is the basic religious argument, which comes in various forms - the sanctity of the body as God's creation, the state of the body at a resurrection before a final judgement, and others. All of these arguments completely irk me, as I think they are, to put it mildly, theologically flimsy. They essentially imply either or both of two things. Firstly, the weakness of a deity; it does not have the power to restore any organs that may be necessary, or to wholly remake the body in the case of cremation - all the while seemingly ignoring the emphasis put upon the soul as an intangible part of being that exists beyond the temporal plane of existence. Secondly, the malevolence of a deity; for reasons not stated, the deity has some kind of opposition to a generous act that can prolong the life of another person. Surely, if life itself is the creation of the deity, it would not just approve but actually ordain any actions that can be taken to prolong life and improve its quality?

Well, in any case, for those of you in Australia, if you wish to opt in to the current organ donation scheme, you can do so here on Medicare's website. For the record, I have made it very clear to my mother that I wish every useful part of my body to be donated; I have realised that I am not actually on the register and shall rectify that immediately upon my return from New Zealand (the online registration requires the receipt of an item of mail, and I do not wish to have letters piling up while I am away). I have furthermore made it clear that if I cannot donate my organs, if at all possible I want them to be given to science for any research that can be done. I have to die at some point, and while I bloody well hope that's many decades away, when I do die I might as well be usefully dead rather than worm food.
Tags: australia, death, health, life, medicine, organ donation

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