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New Jersey Law to Require Organ Donor Decision, Education

Ever thought of being an organ donor? Well pretty soon New Jersey drivers will be forced to confront that question — a new law will require drivers to say yes or no to organ donation.

Under the "New Jersey Hero Act" those who say no will have to review information about it, and check a box that says: "I have reviewed the importance of organ donation.” Individuals who can't decide may designate someone else to decide for them (that's a lot of pressure!). Hoping to dispel myths, the law also includes mandatory organ donation education in New Jersey high schools, and colleges will have to provide information at campus health centers.

Currently 24.5 percent (1.75 million) of New Jersey drivers authorize organ donation. To find out how many people need transplants, and how this law could go even further,


Estimates show that 99,000 Americans (3,050 in New Jersey) need organ donations, and 85,000 Americans have died since 1995 while waiting.

Some may think this law, the first of its kind in the US, guilt-trips residents into consenting to organ donation; but, I can imagine a law that goes even further — what if donation was automatic, unless otherwise objected to? One could argue that by requiring the expressed prior consent of the deceased, we condemn others to unnecessary death. Even so, this new New Jersey law that requires some decision seems to blend education, responsibility, and respect for everyone involved.


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