New organ donor law voted in due to MP's tardiness

Organ donation campaign (Picture: Twitter/@Celvalicious)Organ donation campaign (Picture: Twitter/@Celvalicious)

On Tuesday the Dutch lower house of parliament voted in a new law on organ donation with an extremely close 75 votes for and 74 votes against. PvdD parliamentarian Frank Wassengberg planned to vote against, but arrived too late for the vote. If he'd been on time, there would have been an equal number of for and against votes and the bill would not have passed.

"This is an incredible blunder", Wassenberg said to He had an appointment outside parliament and thought he could do both the appointment and make the vote. "But that was a mistake. I made a stupid mistake. That is embarrassing", he said.

The new law, a D66 initiative, basically states that if you do not specifically register as a "yes I want to be an organ donor" or a "no I don't want to be an organ donor", you will be registered as "no objection". All Dutch over the age of 18 will be sent a organ donation form twice. If you haven't responded by the second time, you will be registered as "no objection", which can still be changed at any time, according to NOS.

If you are registered as a "no objection" at the time of your death, your organs are available for donation unless your family or next of kin objects. The next of kin must be able to demonstrate that you really did not want to be an organ donor, you just never opened the mail, for example.

The law still has to pass through the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, before it is implemented. Just like in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, the vote is expected to be very close.


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