January 23, 2012

Organ donation: Church leaders in Wales attack presumed consent

Church leaders in Wales have criticised "ill-judged" proposals to introduce presumed consent rules on organ donation.
The Roman Catholic Church in Wales, Church in Wales and Wales Orthodox Mission urged the Welsh government to revisit its policy process.
In a joint statement they said they were "profoundly committed" to human dignity in life and death.

The Welsh government has been asked to respond.

The church leaders said their response was based on social, moral and ethical principles.
Their statement, they said, was intended to contribute these important elements to the current debate.
They said the principles outlined in their document "seek to preserve the dignity and autonomy of every person whilst creating a proper framework in which the gift of human organs after death is precisely that - an act of solidarity, generosity and love."

Official consultation will end on 31 January.

The latest figures show Wales has reached a deceased organ donation rate of 27.7 per million people (pmp), compared to the UK average rate of 16.3 pmp.
It places Wales above many other European countries, including France (23.8 pmp), Italy (21.6 pmp) and Belgium (20.5 pmp), which already has a system of presumed consent, according to figures for 2010.
The proposed change to the law has been backed by organisations such as the British Medical Association, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, British Lung Foundation, the Welsh Kidney Patients Association.

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