Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Senate bills not good for Pennsylvania

on July 01, 2014 10:30 AM

This letter is directed to the ladies and gentlemen of the Pennsylvania House and Senate, regarding Senate bills 1305 and 1306:

With all due respect, we must tell you that we are opposed to these bills, especially SB1306. The following descriptions of the bills are from Sen. Don White’s e-newsletter:

SB1305 “would redesign driver’s license and identification card applications to include the question ‘Do you wish to have organ donor designation printed on your driver’s license?’ This question, although it is required to be asked, is not printed on all driver’s license/identification forms. My bill would also require a phrase to be added to all forms stating that Pennsylvania strongly supports organ and tissue donation because of its life-saving and life-enhancing opportunities.

“The second approach (SB1306) would create a ‘presumed consent’ or ‘opt-out’ system which is in contrast to Pennsylvania’s current ‘opt-in’ process. All applications for a driver’s license or identification card would state that ‘You are automatically deemed to have consented to being an organ and tissue donor. ... If you do not want to be considered an organ and tissue donor, you must elect to not be included on the organ donor registry by inserting your initials on the line below.’ This bill also includes the phrase stating Pennsylvania strongly supports organ donation.”

The bill, SB1306, requiring an “opt-out” or having an automatic “opt-in” of our organs and tissue is alarming. A simple oversight could cause an automatic “opt-in”; SB1306 can give the state government control over a Pennsylvania citizen’s organs and tissue by default!

We spoke with staff members from several offices of both the House and Senate regarding this next point: What happens to citizens who have all of their legal affairs in order? Their personal decisions are complete and in the hands of their lawyers. How would SB1306 affect those citizens? Would the bill negate all previous and legal decisions?

All of you as public servants have your personal opinions of organ donation. Those opinions are just that, personal; none of our business. Likewise, our personal opinions of organ donations are none of your business. This is personal; it is about our person.

We are capable of making these decisions on our own without your mandated assistance.

We strongly urge all of you to carefully reconsider the entire matter of both bills, SB1305 and SB1306. These bills are not good for Pennsylvania.

John and Sandi Waldenville


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