Churches in Wales have called proposals for presumed organ consent “ill-judged”, in a testimony to a committee of Welsh Assembly members.
Representatives gave evidence to a Health and Social Care committee about a Bill which would mean everyone is considered a willing donor when they die, unless they have stated otherwise.
Churchman Geraint Hopkins said, “the positive ethos of donation as a free gift is endangered by an ill-judged if well intentioned proposal to move from voluntary donation to presumed consent”.
And Joyce Robins of Patient Concern, which speaks on behalf of health service users, called the proposed Bill “horrible”.
She said: “My problem with this bill is that it’s based on a falsehood”.
She added: “You would be pretending that you have agreement when you have no such thing.”
Medical ethicist Professor John Saunders told the committee that, although he was broadly supportive of the measure, “the concept of presumed consent is nonsensical” and should be called deemed consent.
Meanwhile, the British Medical Association claimed it was time for a serious debate on the issue of presumed organ donation consent in Scotland.
A Holyrood Committee has agreed to look into the idea of an opt-out system in Scotland.
The BMA said such a move would “better reflect the views of the Scottish people”.
Last year, the group came under fire for proposing that brain dead patients should be kept alive so their organs can be harvested for transplant.
In 2008, French newspaper Le Monde ran an article about a 45-year-old Parisian who began to show signs of life just as transplant surgeons were about to harvest his organs after failing to resuscitate him.
And in 2007 a man in Texas who was about to have his organs removed after being declared brain dead, started showing signs of life and ended up being discharged from hospital.