Half of Dutch want referendum on new organ donor law

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

Just over half - 52 percent - of Dutch voters are in favor of holding a referendum on the new organ donation law, according to the weekly poll by Maurice de Hond. 

The new law, a D66 initiative, basically states that if you as a Dutch adult do not explicitly opt out of being an organ donor, you will be registered as 'no objection'. 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. You can also change your registration status at any time.

This law was already approved by the Tweede Kamer and Eerste Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament and the Dutch Senate. It is expected that the law will be implemented in 2020. 

GeenPeil launched a campaign to have a referendum on this law. Last week they collected 10 thousand signatures - the first step in holding an advisory referendum, RTL Nieuws reports. They now have six weeks to collect another 300 thousand signatures to get the referendum off the ground.

Whether a referendum will actually be held, even if the necessary signatures are collected, remains to be seen. The government is in the process of abolishing the advisory referendum. A majority in parliament already voted for abolishing this law, but it still has to pass through the Senate. Only after Senate approved the abolishment, and the decision has been published in the Staatscourant, will the referendum law be a thing of the past.

If a referendum is held, D66, GroenLinks and PvdA voters will vote for implementing the new organ donation law, according to De Hond's poll. CDA, FvD, PVV and 50Plus voters will vote against. Highly educated people indicate that they are in favor of the law, while less educated people are mostly against it.