German lawmakers nix opt-out organ donation proposal

BERLIN — German lawmakers on Thursday soundly rejected a proposal to make organ donations easier via an “opt-out” solution, following a fiery three-hour long debate.

The vote was 379 against and 292 in favor, marking a signal defeat for German Health Minister Jens Spahn of the Christian Democrats. Backed by lawmakers across parties, he had proposed that everyone aged 16 and up become an organ donor unless he or she objected. The proposal would have also authorized doctors to ask parents or close family members whether the deceased had requested to become a donor but not recorded that wish formally.

However, lawmakers approved language to increase the numbers of organ donations through a so-called consent solution, in which potential organ donors “opt in” but are regularly reminded to document their decision in a new online register — for example, when a potential donor visits a doctor or a municipal office.

A poll released just ahead of the vote found that 61 percent of Germans supported Spahns proposal, while 36 percent were against, according to the broadcaster ZDF.

Germans have had long-standing qualms over organ donations, and the country has one of the blocs lowest rates of organ donation per 1 million inhabitants. The underlying challenge is tRead More – Source