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Welsh leaders oppose ‘presumed consent’ for organ donations

By on Friday, 3 February 2012

Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

Church leaders in Wales have described government proposals for “presumed consent” on organ donation as “ill-judged”.

In a written response to the Welsh government’s White Paper on Organ and Tissue Donation, leaders of the Catholic Church in Wales said: “Our main concern is that the positive ethos of donation as a free gift is being endangered by an ill-judged if well-intentioned proposal to move from voluntary donation to presumed consent.”

They urged the Welsh government “to revisit the process and establish a cross-party committee that could consider all the evidence submitted to the previous enquiries of the last three years”.

Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff has previously expressed serious reservations about the ethics underpinning a system in which the deceased’s organs are automatically donated unless they choose to opt out in advance.

The Church’s written submission is co-authored with the Church in Wales and the Wales Orthodox Mission.

The submission states: “If organs may be taken without consent, this is no longer ‘donation’. This is not just a health matter but concerns serious human rights issues such as personal autonomy, as well as questions about the relationship of the state and the citizen.

“At the same time the belief that presumed consent would itself increase the number of organs available for transplantation is not supported by the available evidence.”