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Organ Donation via Presumed Consent

Discussion in 'All-Star Threads' started by Frebis, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. scootah

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    Ding! Give the lady a cigar.

    There have already been specific organ growth projects. They're problematic - but that's largely because they've got almost no funding and no viability because they're so heavily restricted by legislation in what they can and can't do - and what they can and can't be purposed for commercially once made viable. The idea that we need to breed an army of children so we can harvest them (and presumably use any of the remains that aren't re-purposed for making soylent green) - is straight out of fiction, written before anyone had any understanding of the realities of cloning technology.

    As an aside - in the hypothetical circumstance that we could build a bunch of womb tanks, grow kids to biological age as required for donor purposes and then harvest them? Assuming that they're born brain dead (which isn't exactly challenging in an environment where womb tanks and grow on demand clones are a commercial viability) - I'd be 100% ok with it. I'm hanging out for the day that I can jump onto amazon.com - order a 25 year old clone of myself with 12% body fat, significant muscle density, a full luxurious head of hair, great teeth, fantastic vision, artificial blood with a programmatically updatable immune system and a vastly superior oxygen carry capability, and the ability to grow a mustache that doesn't look like a pedophile - and download my brain into that sucker and recycle the body that I currently inhabit. All shit that is within 15 years (arguably, at the outside) of being technically viable.

    A lack of education and a general fear of change in voters delaying the availability of that sort of technology, I expect will ultimately kill more people then cancer.
     
  2. Crown Royal

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    Again I am in agreement with Scootah, but on the flipside I have a fear of being killed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his weird helicopter-jet thingy.

    We're not harvesting humans, and we never will. Some of you watched Judge Dredd or The Matrix too often and you foolishly convinced yourself that this shit might actually happen. Give your head a shake. For one, it tramples every living right that ever existed (we can't even kill a mink without somebody going bat-shit over it). Two, you don't need EVERY ASPECT of the human body to save a life. We need organs, plasma and tissues which as said above is very plausible as long as Dumbasses For Jesus get the the hell out of the way and let the smart people handle these kind of decisions.
     
  3. IHaveCandyGetInVan

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    The discussion on this proposed legislation is in Canada (and the UK too, I think). I'm fairly certain that nothing like is being proposed by anyone in the US, because legislators understand that people like you will throw a fit at any perceived reduction of your inalienable pursuit of life and liberty and inevitably come up with a slippery-slope argument comparing anyone who wants to take your organs to Nazis.
     
  4. Allord

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    No, opt out does not equate to being forced. Not having an option at all equates to being forced. Opt out and opt in give you the exact same degree of freedom of choice. Period. All you are changing is the default option.

    I think this TED video is extremely relevant.

    Dan Areily (the whole talk is fascinating, the part about organ donations starts 5 minutes in)

    The predictable irrationality of human decision-making is what limits organ donors, and this is extremely important to note as it implies that for the most part people are not strongly against giving up their organs upon death, instead they are extremely against the perceived difficulty of making such a profound choice and instead go with the default option. Opt-out is perfect because it then allows those people who are TRULY against the idea the ability to opt-out, while those for it or indifferent help the needy.

     
  5. deltabelle

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    I'm not going to get into the argument about opt-in vs. opt-out (since they allow you the exact same freedom- choose yes or no, choose to be active or passive in dealing with your remains) because I think that's years away from changing, and my concern is more about how to get organs to people who need them now.

    What I find more concerning is the fact that I can go through the effort to sign paperwork expressly stating my wishes that (all/some) of my organs be donated (to science/med students/ as a crash test dummy), and yet if a family member gets a wild hair up their ass at the time of my death and says "nope, sorry... those organs are staying in", that's totally legal. I just looked through the bill concerning organ donation in my state, and there's paperwork and impartial witnesses required to become an organ donor, yet my crazy Southern Baptist, BJU-supporting grandmother could decide in the hospital room that I'm going to need my eyes to behold the glory of Jeee-zus, and suddenly my hard work is invalidated. My decision had been clearly outlined while I was alive, yet can be voided once I'm unable to contest it. Why is that not a bigger concern?

    My personal story about why I feel this way, for those who care:
    When I was 20, my then-boyfriend's sister, Heather, was in a car crash where she was thrown from the car and then had it land on her. After 11 days in a coma, the doctors declared that she would only live if she continued to be aided by life support for the rest of her "life". This was in February. The previous December, I was watching TV with her entire family present when some "Christamas miracle" special came on the news about how some teenager's organ donations had saved numerous peoples' lives. At that point, Heather explicitly said "If something like that ever happens to me, please pull the plug and let my organs be put to good use." I remember the conversation because I agreed with her stance, and my ex got all pissed that he'd want to save my body (and presumably, his sister's) from "being all chopped up". When Heather's family was given the choice of what to do about life support, they decided to honor her wishes about being let die peacefully, but refused the organ donation, though they remembered the conversation about her wishes to be an organ donor. I still think that she'd be pissed at them that her body wasn't used as she'd hoped- to help others- but was instead showcased bruised, with her head shaved, stapled, and swollen- yet whole- in an open casket at her funeral.
     
  6. Crazy Wolf

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    See, the thing is that if those within the government want to do something, they will do it unless enough/the "right" people complain about it. Even then, most complaints are resolved with a "gee, we're sorry, we swear we won't do that again, it's a shame that we were able to complete what we wanted to in the time that it took you to bring this claim all the way to the Supreme Court." Arguments against the government take time and money most people don't have, and while they're working on that the government usually has the resources to both continue their (allegedly unconstitutional activities) and fight the case in court. I'm only going to cover the Bill of Rights below.
    First Amendment? Doesn't apply when the government doesn't want it to(see: Alien and Sedition Acts, Sedition Act, PATRIOT Act).
    Second Amendment? I'm not going to get into this can of worms.
    Third Amendment? Not really seen as a big issue nowadays, the last time there was a court case on it was in 1979.
    Fourth Amendment? Hoo boy, the right to unreasonable search and seizures is probably the most commonly violated.
    Fifth Amendment? Generally those who're bound by the Fifth have gotten really good at getting what they want without actually violating this one. In the cases where it is violated, assuming the lawyer cares enough, you are able to get your prison sentence commuted, although that's normally after a few months or years of getting your colon cleansed by Bubba.
    Sixth? Nope. Best and freshest example in the collective mind? Guantanamo detainees.
    Seventh? They're decent about this one, generally just telling someone that they'll get a lighter sentence if they have a trial without jury might be shady/ethically questionable, but it's not refusing the right to a trial, it's just making that look like a very unattractive option.
    Eighth? Not gonna get into death penalty as an excessive punishment thing, that's as bad a can of worms as Door #2's, excessive fines (see US v. Bajakajian) are kinda rare, but high bail costs are commonly used seemingly arbitrarily.
    Ninth Amendment? Conservatives and libertarians basically argue that government actions that are wider than what Lincoln (or his predecessors, Lincoln ignored some rights when he felt it was necessary) used are unconstitutional. Again, this is a can of worms.
    Tenth? This bundles well with the Ninth in terms of arguments about constitutionality of government actions.
    As has been stated previously, next of kin can negate your expressly stated wishes if they feel like it and you're not around to argue it. So this issue about "individual rights" is kinda pointless, considering that your individual decisions made with sound mind can apparently be negated by committee even within the current system.

    However, this discussion is removed from the point of this thread, and the country of origin of this story. Changing the system from "opt-in" to "opt-out" deprives no one of any rights, and allows those who object to being recycled to let their organs stay with the rest of their body. It just changes it so that those who don't really care about it become useful after death. If you don't want anyone getting your organs, then you can opt out.
     
  7. KIMaster

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    It's easy to say "I don't care about my loved ones' organs when they die!" when it's a hypothetical, distant concept. I probably would have written the exact same thing a few years ago. But having faced it twice now, neither time did I or my other family opt in for the deceased. It's completely different when you're confronted with cold, brutal reality, and you see your loved one lying there.

    Knowing their body will be nothing more than dust underneath one's feet is a difficult obstacle to overcome psychologically, and I have never been religious in my entire life. That's just me and how I feel, but I don't think this sentiment is unnatural or alien.

    I applaud and respect those willing to donate their organs or those of their loved ones. However, the people in this topic who call anyone refusing organ donation "insane religious zealots" sound like juvenile morons with limited life experience and stunted emotional empathy. (Not to mention an axe to grind)

    Anyways, on the policy side of things, Frebis basically ended this topic on post #2; give people economic incentives to donate their organs. That would save infinitely more lives and patients waiting for transplants than these supposed religious conspiracies I keep reading about.

    Should family members be able to veto the deceased's decision? It's a tricky question, but I would say no, they shouldn't.

    Nevertheless, it's the family members who have to suffer the choice, not the departed. Taking that into account has also changed me from being favorable towards donating my organs, to being unsure or slightly negative?

    Am I being selfish? No. I don't care what happens with my body when I die. I do, however, care about how my loved ones will handle it.
     
  8. Denver

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    Okay, I had this whole post lined up where I made a hypothetical situation about loved one's feelings vs. strangers' lives, but maybe I'll just ask you to clarify, because I cannot comprehend people that take this position (and you're not the only one in this thread who has).

    You, having no qualms with organ donation in general, or with donating your own organs, might not do it? You care more about your loved ones' feelings than you do about [possibly dozens of] strangers' lives, and/or about phenomenally improving their quality of life? How can this be?

    (Not addressing the legal argument at all, only the moral/ethical. May be getting slightly off-focus...)
     
  9. Sam N

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    Yes, I'm sure he cares more about his grieving family members than he does about people he's never met or even heard of. You don't?

    Bascially what he's saying is that, none of you have any experience in having to make that decision, so don't like it's a complete non-decision. Nobody here, besides KIMaster as far as I can tell, has ever felt what it's like to be confronted with an issue like this. Going further, nobody here has been a mother, being asked if they can rip the heart or eyes out of her son's body to give to someone else, a heart that was beating a day ago and eyes that she had stared into with love since the little shit was yanked out of her snatch.

    As for me, I'll absolutely give my organs up for donation, and I hope to be able to say yes when I'm faced with that question concerning family. But I don't presume to tell anyone else what is right and wrong in a situation like this. That is just inconsiderate and insulting.
     
  10. KIMaster

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    Sam N already answered it, but yes, absolutely, I care about the quality of life/happiness of my loved ones A LOT more than the life of some strangers. If you want to ask me the hypothetical question I think you're going to, then yes, I would personally kill strangers if it brought additional happiness to the few people I truly love and care for.

    That's a hypothetical, though.

    Theoretically, Denver, you could probably save the lives of dozens or hundreds of children if you gave all your worldly possessions to charity and lived the life of Mother Teresa. But you, who cares about the lives of others, doesn't do that. Why? It's because every individual has their own limits and standards about what length they're willing to go to help others.

    For some people, it's extreme in the direction of charity (Mother Teresa, St. Francis of Assassi...you know, all those horrible religious wackos lambasted earlier in this topic), while for me, it's stronger in the direction of myself and those I love.

    I realize that's just me. It's not true of everyone. Some people care about their fellow man in society. Some people don't have/have never had such intense love for anyone, even in their own family.

    The only thing that confuses me is that this seems so bizarre to you. Why? The idea that people place the feelings of the very few they care for and truly know in this world VASTLY above someone they will never meet is shocking to you? You've never met anyone with such emotions? You can't relate to it?
     
  11. The Village Idiot

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    I was going to come up with a biting reply, but I'll just go ahead and let my first post (third post overall) in this very thread do the talking.

    I bolded a couple of things. I'll go ahead and let you figure out why.

    Nor was I intimating such. If you'll bother to check (since apparently you didn't check my first post) you'll see I was responding to Crazy Wolf, whose post intimates that the US government owns our bodies due to selective service and income tax. I'd suggest you go back and read what I wrote before pointing out what I explicitly stated in the first post, and the basis for my response. It's ok, go ahead, I'll wait.

    Now as to the rest of your nonsensical rant (bolded for your convenience, above). I love it when people use the anti-slippery slope argument. Do you know what the arguments were against state intervention and the Supreme Court rulings were regarding the New Deal as proposed by the FDR administration? How about when medicare and medicaid were introduced? The basic objection was that once the government gets involved in something, they get more and more involved through more and more regulation and oversite. And, as I recall, there IS a current bill proposing universal health care. Why is that relevant? Go back to my first post.

    And now to the next.

    I fixed that for you. If you'd like to go back and reread it, it's ok, I'll wait again.

    The rest of your post doesn't begin to respond to my point, as it merely rants about government and your take on the Bill of Rights. A take, I might add, that based on your 'the government owns your body' nonsense, is probably exceptionally flawed and derived from a Sarah Palin flyer. In other words, until you exhibit something resembling a working knowledge of the Bill of Rights and its progeny, which is far afield of the focus, I won't bother to respond as you don't appear to have the requisite knowledge to intelligently discuss Constitutional Law.

    Or, maybe, just maybe, I changed my mind since I checked that little box four years ago during my license renewal. Or maybe I didn't check the box and I changed my mind and communicated that to my next of kin when my death was impending. Maybe, just maybe, my next of kin are carrying out my last wishes, which may differ from wishes I expressed when the situation was hypothetical and I was standing in line at a DMV trying to get back to work before my lunch hour was up.

    But yes, theoretically, my wishes could be nullified by my next of kin. Which is why I have a health care directive naming my wife as the person to make those decisions for me. And since we talked about it, she is well aware of what I want. Could she go against it? Sure. So I guess I'll just have to take it on faith that the woman I married will see my wishes carried out.

    And again, if it's not a big deal to have to affirmatively 'opt-out' why change the system in place now where people opt-in? Isn't it just as easy? Why, yes it is! But hold on, another response...

    Uh, now we're not allowed to be irrational? I go back to my previous response to this idiotic 'opt out' nonsense. If 'opt-in' isn't working, maybe the solution is to appeal to people to do the right thing through education and publicizing the need for more donors. The solution, in my mind, isn't saying 'oh, well, they probably meant to, so we'll go ahead and assume they consented (thought as pointed out earlier, 'consent' usually has a knowing component, which may be very absent here, which is why I don't like 'presumed consent.' There's no such thing. You either knowingly consent, or don't. It's a nice phrase which means 'we're going to tell you what you really meant unless you explicitly come out and tell us otherwise.')
     
  12. Currer Bell

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    I almost hate to bring these up as examples, because I know people who object to some of these laws on principle. But it points out how the government has already stepped in by passing laws because education and publicity haven't managed to overcome the irrationality. Requirements for seatbelts/carseats, stiff penalties for DUIs, waiting periods before purchasing guns, and the recent bans on smoking in restaurants just to name a few.
     
  13. Crown Royal

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    This is just one of those issue that cannot be settled, because there are too many sides to the issue. We can all agree that smoking in the car with your kids is stupid and should be against the law. We can agree texting while driving is retarded and you may as well be driving drunk if you do something so stupid. We can agree you should have to go through a stiff record check before buying a firearm (well, some may not agree but the should).

    This issue has no right answers. There will ALWAYS be disagreements, just like the right to abortion or the right for an Asian driver not to use their turn signal when changing lanes at the last second. This comes down to your own personal right and belief. In my own belief, once you're in the ground you're fertilizer and that's the end of that. If you have something to give another you should, but if you don't want to that's entirely up to you and your useless corpse being devoured by mealworms but it's STILL YOUR DECISION.
     
  14. Denver

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    This is bizarre to me because feelings are temporary, fleeting things, while your or my organs will affect someone else's life forever. If I (or presumably you, but I won't speak for you) die, sure my family will be pretty upset for a while, and maybe the thought of me getting cut up will be objectionable to their sensibilities, but that's okay because they'll eventually get over it. Their feelings will change. They are not going to go into a state of depression for the rest of their lives because I got my organs removed to help others, and if my body remains intact that doesn't somehow transport them to the land of lollipops and rainbows for the rest of their lives. The only way it makes sense to me to put their feelings ahead of others lives is if I knew they would be so depressed over my death that my family members commit suicide themselves (I'll even throw in if I knew they would be depressed for years to the point it drastically affects their lives). But that's really unlikely to happen. My family will be upset for a while, and sure maybe keeping me "intact" for the funeral will make them feel a bit better in the short run, but as I've said before: who, after the time of grieving is over, thinks it was a good thing they chose not to donate the organs? Who continues to gain happiness/stave off grief because their loved one's organs are rotting in the ground with the rest of the body? If someone is normally for organ donation, I don't think knowing that their particular loved one is buried in the ground with their organs inside, will find it to be nearly as comforting to them as my actual organs would be to many other people.

    This part in particular confuses me. How many people would you chose to kill, for the temporary comfort of your loved ones? And like I said, keeping your organs in isn't going to make them happy; they'll still be grieving over your death, but somehow keeping your organs makes them grieve slightly less. That small bit of grief is worth others' lives to you? If that's the case, I guess I will just concede the point.
    (And actually my hypothetical was a "gun to their heads" type scenario, where someone else was making you either hurt someone's feelings or they'd shoot a couple dozen other people. But I guess if you're willing to be the one doing the killing...)

    This is a fair point, but I'll be dead. Giving up all my worldly possessions would certainly have a direct impact on me and my family (particularly so if I were the provider, as I'm sure some here are) that would be long lasting. Organ donation does not. Again, my feelings are nonexistent as I'll be dead, and my family's grief will not last forever. However the organs I donate will help many others, potentially for the rest of their lives. It's not the same situation at all.
     
  15. The Village Idiot

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    In fact, I'm one of those people. While I'd like to agree with you that these may well be 'good things' I don't think it's a good thing when certain behaviors are legislated. Including organ donation (in Canada). For instance:

    Requirements for seatbelts: why? Because you'll be more injured in the event of a car accident? While I agree that wearing a seatbelt is a good thing, I don't think the government should be involved, and this is a great example of a slippery slope argument, so I'll use it.

    In New Jersey, when the seatbelt law first was passed, it was couched as a 'secondary' offense, much like when cell phone bans were instituted. What this meant was you could not be pulled over for a violation of that law. If there was another law you violated, let's say an illegal turn, which is a primary offense, THEN you could get ticketed for the illegal turn AND the seatbelt violation. So a few years go by and now seatbelt violations are a primary offense. You can be pulled over just for that. Once again, those advocating passage of the bill were saying that it wouldn't erode rights because it was a secondary offense. While that was true at the time, as usual, once the government got the foot in the door, so to speak, it became more intrusive as time went on. Same thing with cell phones.

    Again, it's not that I'm against such things so long as they are the product of choice, I am against the government legislating what they think is best when it comes to issues such as the ones you've outlined above because the government is a vampire. Once you invite them in, they're never leaving.

    The same applies to organ donation. In the US, once the health care bill is passed, mark my words. We'll see the same legislation proposed. And at first, people will be like, 'oh, it's not so bad, just opt out.' And that will be the status quo for a while, then the opt out will be removed. Just like seatbelts, cell phones, and smoking. It is a certainty given how the government works.

    There are two sides, and only two sides. Either the government legislates it, or it doesn't.

    Agreed.

    Disagree.

    .

    Agreed.

    Touchy issue for many legal reasons, so I'll leave this alone.

    From a civil rights standpoint, there is a right answer. Ultimately, choice involves making a bad decision. To say 'you have the right to choose, so long as it's choice A' is no choice at all.

    I can't argue as to belief, but I will argue as to 'your own personal right.' Either it's a right for everyone or it isn't. It's that black and white. And though I would advocate not smoking with kids in the car - or donating organs (I'm an organ donor by the way...surprised?) - having the government step in and say 'here's what you should do' is an infringement of that right. It may be a de minimus infringement, but small infringements often lead to big ones down the road. Which is why I believe, given the amount of government intrusion in our daily lives, we have all the evidence we need to say: 'ok, today it will be X, but given your history, government, tomorrow it will be 2X. Then 3X.'

    Always better to make a stand now then to wait.

    Agreed, and such a decision as to the final resting place of your body should not be infringed. Would it be better if everyone was an organ donor? Of course. Just like it would be better if everyone didn't eat fatty foods, smoke, drink, suntan, expose themselves to cleaners, have no stress, and lead pristine perfect lives. But that's what choice is all about (and rights): the right to choose not to be perfect because that's what you want to do.
     
  16. toddus

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    This is utterly disingenuous, how is the ability to choose being lost? One can still choose not to be an organ donor. All that is changing is the null hypothesis. The presumption is being switched from negative to positive. I am all for limiting the power of government; however when apathy exists the greater good should come into play.
     
  17. The Village Idiot

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    I can think of a couple of hypotheticals. As noted above, next of kin makes the decision. In my previous posts I've noted that people could change their mind and express that interest to their next of kin prior to dying. Maybe they have a change of heart, weren't an organ donor, and decided to be one after all.

    Or vice versa. Let's say they choose to not 'opt out' but for whatever reason, decided that they didn't want to be an organ donor (for whatever reason), assuming the legislation being talked about for Canada (and further, hypothetically, if it ever came to it, the US), provided for a verbal opt out, then perhaps it's a moot point. But what if it didn't? What if you needed to fill out a paper to opt out, and you couldn't due to poor health, or impending death? And now your next of kin can't undo it. That's how, nothing disingenuous about it.

    Unless of course the next of kin decision would allow opting in or opting out right up until death which begs the question: why change the law then? And this goes for the rest of your post. If it's not a big deal to change it, why isn't it not a big deal to keep it the same? Why legislate?

    I'll tell you why. Because the current scheme is not provided the 'desired' results as far as someone goes, so now they want to impose (in a seemingly innocent way) on you to change your choice. Yes, the 'default' is 'not a big deal' but it's insidious none the less.

    Or if it isn't, why is the change being proposed? To keep things the same? If that's the case, why bother?

    Amen, toddus, preach on...

    ...and Good Intentions just called to see if Hell was around because they want to pave a road.

    Who determines 'apathy?' You? Me? The government? All of us? Some guy in a trailer in Alabama?

    Even scarier, who decides 'greater good?' You? Me (which would be an exceedingly bad idea, as I think killing off about half the population that I've met would certainly be for the 'greater good' as far as not passing along idiot genes)? The government? I guess what it comes down to is when moral questions are presented, legislation should be absent.
     
  18. toddus

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    For a multitude of reasons I won't respond to this, no disrespect intended I just simply don't feel passionate enough about this topic to get into back and forths which go no where, nor have I put enough thought to be able to do so with conviction. My post was mostly aimed at your presumption that choice would be lost. It wouldn't, the null was simply moving.

    In this instance I think apathy is pretty clear cut, it is the ability to choose and declining that right.
     
  19. Crazy Wolf

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    By not taking an action against something, it suggests you don't feel strongly about it, especially when that action is as simple as signing a line or checking a box.
    See, aside from your terrible genetic knowledge (despite the poor or dumb having more kids for centuries, average intelligence has increased. This would suggest genetics isn't such a determining factor for intelligence), you seem to be asking a silly question. The "greater good" is determined by whoever's in charge, in this case the government, and ostensibly the people who elect it. If you think that genocide is for the greater good, you're free to write your representative and try to convince others.

    Having your relative's body rot, but rot intact, won't bring them back. Parting them out lets them do some good after death. At least if you part them out you've got a bright side to look at.
     
  20. Porkins

    Porkins
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    Average Idiot

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    I think few, if any, of the posters in this thread are arguing because we would categorically refuse to donate our organs, or those of a family member. I know I'm not. We're saying that such a choice shouldn't be legislated. We're also saying that an opt-out program qualifies as "legislated," while an opt-in program does not.

    There is an entire field of economics dedicated to "figuring out why people don't check the box." And isn't "not feeling strongly about something" a good reason for more education and discussion of the topic rather than an immediate move to legislation?

    If one word on a form at the DMV can change so drastically the popular opinion of entire countries (see the TED video posted earlier), clearly a shortage of organ donations is not the only problem.

    I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic. Although with the way it abounds in this country, you could make a convincing argument that stupid is, in fact, a contagious disease.