Dutch senate votes in favour of ‘yes unless’ organ donor system

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The upper house of the Dutch parliament on Tuesday voted narrowly in favour of introducing a ‘yes unless’ system of organ donation in the Netherlands.

The bill, drawn up by D66 parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra, divided opinion in the senate with 38 senators voting in favour and 36 against.

The VVD, Christian Democrats and Labour party were all split on the issue, D66 voted in favour, while the anti-Islam PVV, the minor Christian parties and the pro-animal PvdD voted against.

The new law, which was approved in the lower house of parliament 18 months ago, means that people will be included in the organ donor register unless they specifically say they do not want to be.

Just 40% of the population have made their wishes plain in the current opt in registration system and  research shows that families say no to donation in almost seven out of 10 cases in which a person has not left instructions about their organs.

The bill will come into effect in July 2020 after a major publicity campaign.

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