New York – NY Assemblyman Launches Campaign To Halt ‘presumed consent legislation’

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    New York – Calling Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s presumed consent legislation “tantamount to entrapment,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) today launched an opposition campaign to prevent the bill from moving forward in Albany. If passed, New York State would be the first state which presumes people wish to donate their organs unless they specifically opt-out. Presently, prospective donors must give permission to donate their organs by checking a box on their driver’s licenses in the presence of two witnesses, or by filling out a donor card.

    Joining Hikind in opposition is the Rabbinical Alliance of America, a rabbinic organization which boasts more than 800 members nationwide; The Catholic League, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization; The National Council of Young Israel, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue movement with 146 branches across North America; and leaders from Chesed Shel Emes, an organization which prepares members of the Jewish community for burial according to Orthodox tradition, irrespective of a family’s ability to pay for burial services or plots.

    “This legislation is blatantly unfair,” said Hikind. “We intend to do everything in our power to prevent a real-life invasion of the body snatchers in New York State.”
    Hikind added that while he supports all those who wish to donate voluntarily, the notion of presumed consent poses a great risk to those who simply forget to opt-out, and consequently, may be forced to donate their organs upon death. “This bill is tantamount to entrapment,” noted Hikind. “If this bill becomes law, we will end up fighting protracted legal battles to prevent illegal organ harvesting.”

    National Council of Young Israel President Steven Z. Mostofsky, Esq. remarked, “While organ donation is commendable, it should be a person’s choice to do so. The US constitution has been cited many times to protect citizen’s rights to control their own bodies. Why should people not be able to control what happens to their body after they die? Organ donation should remain an option that people must affirmatively choose and not one that they have to affirmatively reject.”

    “The predicate of these bills is that the government enjoys a lien on our bodies,” stated Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League. “That is obscene.”

    Rabbi Gershon Tanenbaum, Director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America commented, “The government cannot mandate organ donation. To do so belittles the religious and cultural sensitivities of so many. Instead, the government should raise awareness and increase education about the importance of organ donation.”

    Currently, neither bill involving presumed consent (A09881; A09865) has a State Senate sponsor. According to Hikind, lobbying efforts are already underway to preclude this bill from ever being brought to the floor for a vote in the Assembly.

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    16 COMMENTS

    1. Wishing Dov Hikind great success against this latest abomination! And to think, this latest craziness coming from a ‘Jew’ (Brodsky)! Very happy that many of the Jewish groups are standing up against this latest mishagas, which could, c’v, be devastating.

    2. This is what I call being represented. Foolish people want him to go, because he doesn’t adhere to any advice of so called Ra-bunim. He has a very good sense of right and wrong and represents no interests but ours. He is a symbol of what othe Jewish politicians should be. We need politicians that are not politically correct and fight.

      I have high hopes for David Greenfeld will be more active than his predecessor, but he needs to start fighting as well as continue making noise, which he seems to do and is very good that he does. I hope his energy is channeled further into actions. The ticket blitz MUST stop. I have no car, but saw a police officer give a ticket to a woman that had her cell phone strapped to her hand while driving, she wasn’t talking and she has the records and the police agrees that he didn’t see her talk, but all he said was “tell that to the judge”. They have quotas and I am glad David complained about it, but let him fight.

    3. This legislation would materially increase the number of individuals donating their organs and that could save and/or improve thousands of lives from those who would benefit. The law clearly provides an opt out provision and we should lean in the direction of making it easier for people to make a donation automatically and allow those who have legitimate religious objections to make those known. The benefits to the living far outweigh the burdens on the small number of individuals who might accidently check the wrong box

      • This is America and I we dont have to opt out, we have to opt in. Unless we give up ownership of our bodies the goverment should not have any rights to it. No cause is greater than the cause of freedom.

        Besides that, everything evolves and this would be a bad precedent, next the government would presume that you your children are up for adoption if you die. OK, maybe I am pushing it, but you know what I mean.

    4. Why are Jews and other religious groups opposed to organ donation? Isn’t saving a life the ultimate good? Pikuach nefesh supersedes Shabbos, so why does it not supersede the dignity of the dead?

      • A person’s body can’t be desecrated upon death in order to donate organs. Pikuach nefesh doesn’t apply if you need to desecrate someone’s body in the process.

        • Totally false. Talk to a medical halachah expert and you will understand. The machloket is when halachic death occur; poskim have not come to conclusion on that.

      • There are a couple of issues here:

        * Some organs are usable for transplant only if the donor’s heart is still beating (but they have experienced brain death). However, a major halachic opinion (perhaps even the majority opinion – I’m not sure) is that only cessation of heartbeat is considered “death” in halachah. According to this view, then, in the typical case of organ donation, the donor is actually still alive and their organs may not be harvested.

        * Other organs (for example, corneas) can indeed be removed after the heartbeat has ceased. But these aren’t necessarily used immediately for transplants, but are banked for use if needed. Pikuach nefesh overrides most mitzvos when the former is immediate (i.e., there is a patient whose life is in danger right now), but not where it may happen at some future date.

        • a) It’s not only the issue that accelerated death is tantamount to murder. Frum Jews vehemently oppose organ harvesting even positively postmortem.
          b) If this is indeed the case, that pikuach nefesh does not apply in donating to a cause with chances of saving future lives, and that the prevention of mutilation is more important than contributing to the general benefit, then frum Jews ought to reevaluate their beliefs.

          • In other words, to restate your point (b), “I don’t like this halachah, and demand that it be changed.” Sorry, but if “frum Jews” are to remain as such, then we cannot and will not change our religion to fit the sensibilities of the moment.

            • #16 – good answer to #12. There is something sorely missing in today’s so-called ‘religious’ community. Our parents, grandparents, etc. must all be crying in heaven at the attitudes and the ignorance of Jews who should be so much more learned in Torah and in the ethics of our Fathers. Desecration of those gone already is pure ugliness, and that should be a given. Those wishing to donate and there is a heter for all this today to save lives, that is fine; but to have the audacity of putting a law into effect that would be, chas v’chalilah, against a person’s (especially a frumme yid) wishes is unconsciounable. Kudos to Assemblyman Dov Hikind for doing the proper Jewish and humane thing.

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