Your Organs Belong…to Virginia?

In just a few short weeks, Virginia’s part-time legislature, the General Assembly, shall convene again in Richmond.  As such, news of proposed bills have been popping up all across the internet.  Today, a fellow constitutionally conservative activist named Sandy brought a potentially troubling piece of legislation to my attention.

HB 154 Presumed consent for organ donation doesn’t sound particularly liberty friendly, does it?  According to the summary as introduced, this bill “establishes a system of presumed consent for organ donation in the Commonwealth.”

The full text of the bill is available here.  Note this particular line with the italicized text replacing the crossed present law.  “inform the family of each potential donor of the option to donate organs, tissues, or eyes or to decline to donate (a) identify individuals who have registered a refusal to make an anatomical gift and revocation of presumed consent to an anatomical gift and (b) inform the family of individuals who have not filed a refusal to make an anatomical gift and revocation of presumed consent to an anatomical gift about the organ donation process. ”

And perhaps the most distressing part of the bill:

Ҥ 32.1-291.3:1. Presumption of anatomical gift.

Every resident of Virginia shall be presumed to have made an anatomical gift of his whole body, unless the individual has refused to make an anatomical gift pursuant to § 32.1-291.3:2. Such anatomical gift shall become effective upon the individual’s death without the need to obtain the consent of any survivor.”

From Delegate Bell's Facebook page
From Delegate Bell’s Facebook page

This piece of legislation is offered by Delegate Dickie Bell of Staunton.  Even though typically a fine legislator (with particularly excellent taste in facial hair), every so often he offers a bill (such as increasing state surveillance of the sale of precious metals) that causes advocates of limited government to cringe.  Edit:  Del. Bell has not sponsored a bill making failure to use seat belts a primary offense.  However, as reported by the Daily News Record, “a few years ago Bell said it was likely he would have considered mandatory seat belt laws a government intrusion.  But he now would probably support a mandatory seat belt law, citing numerous safety studies on their use.” Mellott, J. (2010, Feb. 8) Collision Course With Safety? Daily News Record.

Although organ donation is a fine option that helps improve or save the lives of a multitude of individuals, it should, like most parts of life, remain a choice.  To somehow presuppose that the Virginia government has first dibs on its citizens’ organs unless they specifically state otherwise is, quite frankly, terrifying.  Does Virginia somehow own its citizens’ bodies?  In this state are they merely on lease to the individual as long as he or she remains alive?  I hope the answer to these two questions is a definitive no!

Organ donation ought to remain an opt-in decision rather than allowing the state to simply assume consent  and control of our bodies unless stated otherwise.  For this reason, it is my hope that HB 154 does not pass.

21 Replies to “Your Organs Belong…to Virginia?”

  1. At least make your remarks accurate…I have never introduced seat belt legislation, period, so that’s an incorrect statement. Precious metals bill was drafted at the request of a police chief, later withdrawn. This current bill is at the request of a transplant recipient with strong feelings about organ donation. So before everyone sets their hair on fire relax. It is not likely to go further but perhaps it will serve its intended purpose of raising awareness regarding the need.

    Dickie Bell

    1. Dickie is correct. He did NOT introduce or co-sponsor any Legislation regarding seat belt law.

      Dickie by your own admission you submitted a Bill that you know won’t see the light of day in the Committee and you did this to please a constituant. Why would you give someone false hope and waste the committees time and tax payer dollars with this Bill?

      I strongly suggest you tell your constituant to work with UNOS on educating the public on organ donations and you withdraw this Bill.

    2. You’re a blinking idiot if you write bills “just for raising awareness.” Well, you’re raising awareness, all right! Awareness that people like you don’t deserve to be in office! Sicko!

      1. Although I do not approve of censorship, I would ask folks to phrase your comments in constructive ways. We can agree or disagree on this issue, but please don’t resort to personal attacks.

  2. Dickie,
    You say it won’t make it any further, and it is only to raise awareness. Couldn’t a targeted mass television commercial or print ad do the same thing without scaring the bejesus out of people?

    1. I agree with the above comment. Yes organ donation needs awareness but to write up like this is ridiculous. It just shows that the legislators in VA are becoming as bad as our current President, wanting to take away peoples rights. This Is the United States of America. We do not need people like you all telling us how we can and will live. We are allowed to make our own decisions. Now I am an organ donor but my husband is not due to his medical issues. I would be absolutely appalled and disgusted with the Commonwealth of VA if they were to take any of his organs without consent. We humans are not the property of the Commonwealth and therefore you have no right to make decisions for us or do as you choose at our time of demise.

  3. Delegate Bell…Whilst this blog has your attention…why the introduction of the bill to make the detonation if binary explosives, commonly known as “exploding targets”?

    Are there specific instances of injuries or crimes committed with tannerite that has caused concern for you such that you felt this bill needed introduction, let alone passage?

  4. Del. Bell, do you typically introduce any bill offered by a constituent without using your own judgement beforehand tempered by what you think the majority of your district would support? If so you are abdicating your responsibity to represent the will of that majority. You say it has no chance of passing, and George Bush thought McCain-Feingold would be struck down as unconstitutional. He signed it and most of it is still in effect. You play a dangerous game introducing bills like this in the first place.

  5. Here we go again, the republicans not wanting government intrusion, but sponsor bills that supposedly won’t make it past committee to try and control people’s choices! Stop wasting time and money!!! Bell has got to go!!

  6. I just read that Del. Bell has pledge to remove this Bill once the General Assembly convines. He accepted full responsibility.

    Thank you Dickie Bill.

  7. If one elects to be an organ donor, the organ procurement agency still asks the patients legal next of kin if they agree. I have been involved in many cases where as the patient elected to be an organ donor and the family refused. Yes, the organ procurement agency could seek an injunction; however I never witnessed this. It is a misnomer to believe the individual has a right to choose the fate of their own organs.

  8. There is no reason why anybody should be cringing about this bill, and Del. Bell doesn’t deserve the scorn being heaped on him for it.

    We are the party of personal responsibility, correct? So what is so infringing on liberty by requiring that individuals make an informed, conscious decision to opt out of organ donation? We’ve got a crisis of organ donation need across the country, and this bill would have helped that, and I applaud Del. Bell for being willing to put this bill up. It’s and clearly pro-life bill designed to protect human life by giving folks who need organs a greater shot at getting them.

    The state is taking nothing – it’s just putting he onus on the individual to decide whether to opt out or not.

    I’m really having a hard time understand what everyone is afraid of.

    As for submitting a bill on behalf of a constituent – that’s his job. Again, I can’t fathom why anybody would criticize a legislator for being responsive to his constituents.

    There are a a lot of bad bills out there submitted by folks who are actively trying to increase this size of government (there’s a handy way to figure this out – they have a D after their names) and this bill doesn’t do that.

    1. I am sorry to say it and I’ll say organ donation is great but this bill is a bad one and Del. Bell is right to withdraw (Let’s thank as one of many I am sure to shed light on this – Joshua Huffman – the Virginia Conservative!) this bill. It is a taking – a legal inference in favor of organ donation with an opt-out clause. Still it’s mandatory unless the citizen acts. Nope, sorry not acceptable.

      Delegates and senators do introduce bills for constituents regularly but they should be discerning as to such bills.

      Finally, NO taxpayers money spent for PSAs of any kind. Let the market and radio/TV stations decide that. It’s bad enough to see taxpayer money spent on commercials that encourage people to get on WIC as it is! (But that’s another subject!)

      Sandy Sanders

    2. Because of the premise that the state presumes it owns your body(terming it a “gift” is a fairly Orwellian way of putting it) ….but this is what is to be expected out of someone who relies for their living on an organization that is closely allied with regressive socialist Democrats….a political conflict of interest of the highest order.

      when will Republicans realize that you are a literal mole in the hierarchy?

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