17 September 2014, The Tablet

Catholic church in Scotland opposes organ donation bill

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has said a bill that would introduce an “opt-out” system of organ donation is “intrinsically discriminatory.”

Responding to the Proposed Organ and Tissue Donation bill, the Church’s parliamentary office said that moving away from an “opt-in” process for donating organs removes the “important principle of consent in our legal system and undermines the integrity of the person.”

The Church says it is an enthusiastic supporter of organ donation providing it is based on “free and consensual giving” and that is not “morally acceptable” if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent.

The proposed bill would mean that adults would have to specify that they do not want their organs donated although this would not include children.

Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI both lent their support to organ donation with the latter at one point a card carrying organ donor.

A similar move to introduce an opt-out system of organ donation has been proposed in Wales and was also opposed by the Church.

There is pressure to increase the number of donated organs which can often be used to save another person’s life.

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