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Cass Sunstein Scares Me

Ed Morrissey noted this from CNS news:

Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), has advocated a policy under which the government would “presume” someone has consented to having his or her organs removed for transplantation into someone else when they die unless that person has explicitly indicated that his or her organs should not be taken.

Under such a policy, hospitals would harvest organs from people who never gave permission for this to be done.

Shocking, eh? Brings to mind this classic bit from Monty Python:

Sorry bout that, it’s too obvious and has been done elsewhere, but it’s one of my favorite bits from the Pythons and I welcome the chance to revisit it. Morrissey explains that the situation is a lot less dire than the CNS summary would suggest, but there remains a nagging suspicion that far too many people in this administration have a collectivist mindset that views individuals as resources to be exploited for the good of the state. The thought process seems to go: Sick old people are expensive and relatively non-productive, so let’s make it easier to deny them therapies and procedures that might make their lives better; but on the other hand they have valuable organs, so let’s make it easier to take those so they can be used to help other, more productive people. Will this end in a Pythonesque nightmare? Not likely, but we are skirting too close to the edge for my comfort [but then, I’m one of those old people].

September 8, 2009 at 3:04 am
1 comment »
  • September 8, 2009 at 6:16 amHarl Delos

    When you die, doesn’t your body become part of your estate?

    Maybe it varies from state to state, but I would think that unless you explicitly declared yourself an organ donor on your driver’s license or otherwise indicated that to be your wishes, the executor of your estate could sue the tail off the hospital, and the surgeon involved could be prosecuted for abuse of a corpse and for theft. (It’s illegal to *sell* body parts. Given that the value of something is the price a willing buyer and willing seller agree on, there being no compulsion on either’s part, does that law make body parts valueless – or priceless? Is it theft to steal something of no value?)

    When I’m gone, I’d be pleased if they’d cart my body to Temple or Hershey, and use it for training a medical student, and my wife feels the same way about her body, but a lot of people (I think Jews especially, but not only) object to an autopsy.

    There’s a very short period of time after death that organs can be transplanted, and it’s a shame that people *die* when organs would have been available, if people had only been aware of the facts. And I understand that the driver’s license thing is not as useful as it should be. Some hospitals don’t honor it, for reasons I don’t understand.

    I’m sympathetic to those who need transplants, but these days, if someone in the Obama administration were to walk on water, there’d be bitter complaints that they couldn’t swim. And this one is going to be touchy. They’re going to need to tread softly with this one.

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