Netherlands passes opt-out organ donation law


The Netherlands has joined Belgium and Spain in adopting “opt-out” organ donation legislation.  

Earlier this week the Dutch parliament narrowly passed a bill that requires every person over the age of 18 to notify government officials if they do not want to be an organ donor.

All adults in the country not yet registered as donors will receive a letter asking if they want to donate their organs after death. Those who do not respond to the first letter, or to a second letter six weeks later, will be considered organ donors, although they can amend their status at any time.

The law is intended to reduce pressure on next-of-kin, who are often required to make decisions about organ donation on behalf of the deceased.

Yet critics of the bill complained that it puts too much authority in the hands of the government over what happens to a citizen after their death.

Bioethicist Wesley J Smith suggested that in some cases euthanasia “without request or consent” could be combined with presumed consent for organ donation: “a patient could very conceivably be both killed and harvested without having requested it”.

The law is expected to be implemented in 2020.




MORE ON THESE TOPICS | euthanasia, netherlands, organ donation, presumed consent

This article is published by Xavier Symons and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 
 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

 
comments powered by Disqus