I know, it’s probably bad form to joke about the dead and it’s probably not nice to mock Ted Kennedy’s likely sclerotic liver. Bad joke. My apologies.
But what is even less funny is the bill that Ted Kennedy’s son, also named Ted, 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 their body unless they “opted out” of state ownership. It means that when a person in Connecticut passes this earthly coil the state swings by scoops out their organs and delivers them to closest facility in need. It means that if you haven’t opted out of the forced organ donation at your time of death, the state will steal your body parts even if your loved ones object to the seizure.
It means your body is property of the state and your wishes for your body matter not a wit, if you’ve forgotten to opt out, or just thought you’d get around to it later. So don’t forget. Or Connecticut will steal your heart, literally.
Republican state Senator Joe Markley got it right when he observed that “It’s a bill that would seem to indicate that the state owns your body unless you say otherwise.” While the bill may not seem coercive considering the ability for people to opt-out before their death, whether timely or not, 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.
One worried resident wrote the New Hampshire Register to lay out a brilliant argument against the dangerous bill:
This proposal opens doors that our government should not be walking through. SB 750 forces all Connecticut residents to become organ donors upon their deaths unless, per the synopsis of the bill, “they join an official registry to opt out of organ donation.”
Senator Kennedy’s proposal presents three entirely unacceptable conditions for Connecticut residents:
1) It insinuates that after our death, our bodies are by default the property of the state unless we have previously “opted out”; 2) it forces us to trust a state bureaucracy to manage this opt-out registry accurately and safely; and 3) it flies in the face of our nation’s founding principles and the civil liberties that protect all of us.
We all have protections under the law. The doctor-patient relationship and the relationship between attorneys and their clients are privileged and confidential. Our religious freedoms are protected. We are all presumed innocent when accused of crimes until proven beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury of our peers.
These protections exist to shield us from abusive government overreach, and that’s exactly what this bill represents: an undue and intrusive burden on American citizens meant to give the government an easier path to collecting and redistributing our organs following our deaths.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I for one, wish that the Kennedy’s would just leave us (and our body parts) alone already.