The final opportunity to influence the outcome of the Welsh Government’s Bill which presumes consent for the removal of human organs after death comes this month when the Assembly members will debate this controversial proposal. The latest version of the legislation speaks of “deemed consent” given by each person to have their organs removed after death if they have not signified their opting out of this system. This is
draconian legislation, not least because of the implications of the word “deemed”. The church leaders of Wales and England have submitted a detailed response to the rushed consultation. The Muslim community has been articulate in its opposition to these proposals. Many authoritative and detailed responses that have been made opposing this legislation. “Consultation responses to the Bill published in October revealed a negative response to the proposals, however this was blamed on an orchestrated campaign by organisations opposed to the move”. (walesonline.co.uk 4th December 2012) The democratic process does not, seemingly, admit of people organising themselves on important issues.
The Catholic Bishops of Wales have recently sent a joint letter to each Assembly member pointing out the distinction between the free gift which is organ donation and the legal obligation which removes freedom when organs are taken without consent of the individual. All this in the light of the pro-life stance of the Catholic Church which regards the gift of organ donation as one of the highest goods one person can make to another.
A copy of the letter of the Catholic Bishops is printed in this month’s edition of “Catholic People”. Equally important is a draft of a letter which would inform individuals who wish to write to their own Assembly member outlining opposition to this measure. It is important that the same letter is not just reprinted and sent by many people. This is the “campaign” which is objected to. Far more effective is to take the information contained in either letter and elaborate on it in personal responses.
Archbishop George Stack