Yom Chamishi, 20 AdarI 5781
Thursday, 4 March 2021
Faith leaders warn over opt-out organ donor plan

The JC
8th November 2012

A proposed new policy on organ donation in Wales is causing consternation, with the Board of Deputies warning it could be the “thin end of the wedge” for Britain as a whole.

The Welsh government intends to switch to an “opt-out” system where doctors can presume that organs are available for transplant unless the deceased had indicated their objection — rather than the current “opt-in” where people carry donor cards declaring their consent.

Rabbinical opinion is divided over the move, which has drawn opposition from major churches in Wales and other faiths.

Dayan Yisroel Lichtenstein, head of the Federation Beth Din, said that it should “send alarm bells ringing throughout the Jewish world”.

The proposed legislation, he said, represented “a major shift in governmental thinking about human rights and interference in an individual’s personal property — his own body.

“It has no place in a democratic society, and sets a dangerous precedent that must be opposed”.

But Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich argued that the Welsh government had taken a “courageous decision” to change policy — which is likely to be debated by Welsh Assembly members early next year.  Read more