D66 wants an organ donation system in which the choice of every citizen is clear, not just because we value autonomy but also because we think it is up to each of us to decide what happens to our organs after death.
In the present system not registering your choice means it is up to your relatives to make the choice. Not choosing effectively means burdening your relatives with the decision to donate or not. This is exactly what D66 wants to avoid. We want people to choose for themselves.
The active donor registration system proposed by D66 comes down to this: each Dutch citizen of 18 years and over will receive a letter in which they will be asked to register their choice to become a donor or not. Those who do not react will receive a follow-up letter. The letter states clearly that those who do not register will be automatically registered as organ donors. The registration will be confirmed and can be changed at any time.
What choice people make is up to them but choose they must. There are long waiting lists for organ transplants. As long as people die from a lack of organ donations each year we have to do our utmost to increase the number of donors.
A donor organs ‘data base’ is a resource everyone should be able to access. Organ failure can happen to anyone. The chance that you will have to use this resource is greater than the chance you will donate your organs after death. Most Dutch citizens would like to be eligible for an organ transplant, surveys tell us.
D66 thinks everybody should be eligible. It comes with being not only a liberal party but with being a social liberal party. But maintaining a resource like this means every citizen will have to make up his mind about donating.
A comparison of the ADR (Active Donor Registration, DN) system with the present system of consent shows that self-determination is mainly achieved by NOT deciding. About 60% of people, or some seven million people, are not registered in the donor register.
This means the decision is left to the relatives and they usually say no. Someone who may have wanted to donate but never registered his choice will not become a donor because the relatives decide otherwise, or the other way around.
D66 wants people to make their own decisions. The ADR system gives people a chance to decide what happens to their organs after death, a decision they can change at will. In short, Dutch citizens are asked to actively be master of their own bodies. If that’s not liberal I don’t know what is.
Pia Dijkstra is an MP for D66
This article appeared earlier in Trouw