Matthew Dancona

Hands off our bodies, Mr. Brown

Hands off our bodies, Mr. Brown
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I find Gordon Brown's notion of 'presumed consent' for organ transplants, unveiled in the Sunday Telegraph, morally repugnant. It goes without saying that those who choose to give their organs after their death, and carry Donor Card to ensure this happens, are behaving commendably. They take a clear, proactive, individual decision about the fate of their physical remains, and one which is self-evidently to be applauded.

What the Prime Minister now proposes is effectively the nationalisation of the body - with a new 'right' to opt out of the otherwise automatic procedure that your corpse will be stripped of organs for recycling. I am squeamish at the suggestion that my dead body is grabbed by the State, a bit like a biological inheritance tax, unless I take the step of withdrawing my 'presumed consent'.

As a matter of philosophical principle, the State should presume my consent for nothing unless I specifically give it. Each of us has the right to decide to give this consent if we so choose - not a duty to inform the State that we wish to withhold it. The idea that a Government that loses 25 million names and bank account details should take anything for granted about the fate of our bodies is pretty chilling.