Think government is getting too intrusive? Then you’re going to love this — not.
Some Colorado legislators are proposing that residents be considered organ donors by default. Yep, they want to change the law so that unless we opt out, that little red heart will appear on our driver’s licenses.
To me, opting out is something you have to do to stop unwanted spam, junk mail, phone books, etc. Frankly, I don’t think anyone should have to opt out of something they never opted in to. And it’s definitely not something you should have to do in matters as serious as whether someone can remove organs from your dead body.
Not that I don’t support organ donation. It’s amazing that doctors can transplant organs and save lives, and we all know there are far more people on waiting lists than there are available organs. Years ago my attitude was, “Of course I’ll be a donor. Once I’m dead, it sure won’t matter to me, and it might help someone.” But over the years I’ve gotten a lot less cavalier about life and death. When my dad was dying, I asked the doctors about organ donation, and they said an 89-year-old had nothing worth harvesting. That planted the idea that at some point I’ll have nothing worth donating, so if I opt out of being a donor, I won’t be denying anyone anything.
Also, as I get older, I occasionally remember that ghoulish idea that maybe, just maybe, someone at some point might be a wee bit too eager to hasten my demise. Ridiculous idea, right? But once you’ve heard it suggested, you never completely forget it.
Lastly, I really don’t want to trust such decisions to bumbling bureaucrats. The last time I renewed my driver’s license, I specifically told the DMV clerk that I did not want to be a donor. But sure enough, when the new license arrived in the mail, it had the donor symbol on it. I crossed it out with a permanent marker (probably breaking the law) and removed my name from the state’s online donor list. But every time I look at that license, I’m reminded of how easily the state can screw things up.
Colorado legislators should err on the side of caution with this one, and leave such decisions to the individuals concerned. Those who want to be donors can opt in to the program if they want. And if they forget, no harm done.