You can keep the spinach.
Yeah, I know, it’s bad form to joke about the dead, and it’s probably not nice to mock the late Ted Kennedy’s likely sclerotic liver. Bad joke. My apologies.
But what is even less funny is the bill that Kennedy’s son, also named Ted, a state senator, is trying to push through the Connecticut legislature.
Senate Bill 750 is supposedly an “act concerning organ donation” and its stated goal is to save lives, but some might ask at what cost? SB 750 would amend “the general statutes … to adopt an opt-out policy on organ donation that enables all state residents to become organ donors upon their deaths unless they join an official registry to opt out of organ donation.”
What does this mean? It means that when a citizen of Connecticut dies, the state owns his body and all the once-working parts unless he took the initiative to retain ownership. In others words, Connecticut will steal your heart, literally.
OK, first let me stipulate that organ donation is a beneficent practice. It saves or improves lives by making available to others livers, kidneys, and eyes that the original owner no longer has any use for.
But (big but) there are problems inherent in a law that gives the State first right of refusal on an individual’s corporeal parts. Consider that in some religions like Judaism, for example, religious law dictates that the deceased be buried with all his parts intact. Orthodox Jews take this edict so seriously that when there is an earthly need for amputation or organ removal, the excised part is stored so that it can eventually be “joined” with the owner for his journey into eternity.
In general, no law should cede the right to private ownership to the government unless the citizen expressly opposes it in writing. As Republican state Sen. Joe Markley put, the bill is designed to take advantage of those state residents who are either ignorant of the law or simply not informed enough to realize that their organs could be stripped from their body upon death.
Howard Portnoy contributed to this report, the bulk of which was cross-posted at Constitution.com.