As of January 1, 2017, all French citizens are considered organ donors by default – a change that continues to draw attention and spark discussion worldwide.
France’s Angence de la Biomédecine has long spoken out in support of such a change in an effort to combat the country’s overwhelming need for healthy organs. Following the law’s acceptance, the agency released the following statement through its website.
In the name of national solidarity, the principle of presumed consent was chosen. The law says that we are all donors of organs and tissues, unless we have expressed our refusal.
A number of social media users have also praised the law.
“As someone who spent the majority of my childhood watching my father pass away and struggle for a transplant, I think it’s great,” wrote one Reddit user. “It feels morally wrong to allow your organs to decompose rather than potentially save 8 lives and improve upwards of 50.
Another commented, “this is the kind of decision that people need to be forced into,” adding, “it should be like this everywhere.”
Not everyone is too pleased with the new policy, though; some feel it takes away citizens’ rights.
“Presumed consent can very well be a stepping stone to a dystopian decision under a forceful government,” wrote one Reddit user. “People should be constantly made aware that they can say no.”
“My body my choice,” wrote another. “I support organ donation and am a donor myself. The government does not own the people and this is morally wrong.”
Yet another user also insisted “the French thing would never fly in the US,” citing cases like this one in which hospital errors led to not-so-dead patients’ organs nearly being harvested.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that 150,000 people have already signed up for France’s National Rejection Register. French officials are currently working on a system that will allow citizens to submit their refusal online.