By Daryl Luna, Editor at:
*In Defense of the Constitution*
An alarming movement is afoot in New York. Already New Yorkers are told what they can eat and how they can defend themselves (among other things). Now they may lose total control of their bodies. Legislation is being proposed that will create mandatory "organ donor" status for all residents of the Empire State.
On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal. One may ask , "What's wrong with everyone being an organ donor?" But the issue is more than one of organ donor status; the mandatory nature of the legislation is what makes this bill so appalling.
The decision to donate part of one's body is a personal one in which the government has no legitimate role. Aside from violating the decisions regarding one's own body, this law could easily violate religious liberty. A number of religions and religious sects have adherents who refuse to separate organs from the body based on religious conviction.
Agree with them or not, we should all be concerned when religious liberty is at stake. Indeed, this continent has been purposed for such liberty since the landing of the Pilgrims. So as a CBS article notes, "Legal experts said if the law is passed, it will likely face challenges in court from family members or some religious groups."
Another concern beyond that of basic personal liberty is one of ethics. There is no problem with assisting the ill through the donation of organs, but there is a possible ethical dilemma in a "blank check" approach to how organs are used.
With expanding experimental research and the changing cultural tides, questionable usage of one's organs is a real and prevalent concern. If one cannot be guaranteed their organs will be ethically used, the problems with the New York legislation multiplies. Truly, we must protect freedom of conscience.
The issue at hand in New York is not one of organ donation; rather, it is a battle over personal liberty. It is the latest front in a battle over individuals and their unalienable property rights.
If the state wants to make it easier for people to sign up as organ donors, educate citizens on the matter, or do something similar, that is completely permissible. But if they want to violate the personal decisions, religious liberty, or ethical concerns of its citizens, this should be fought against at every turn.