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    Anne Cahill Lambert

    My comments to this article are available on my blog at

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    Sara’s comments are like the child saying that she didn’t get enough presents for christmas because the other kids got more.

    Just be thankful that some care enough to give presents, Sarah. There is no moral obligation to donate organs, much as organisations such as Sharelife try and create one. There is no implied right of the living to harvest the organs of the dead. It is and should remain a personal decision.

    It’s a precious gift from the donor and their families and any increase should be celebrated, not condemned for being not large enough.

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    I take the opposite view to Scott. I cannot understand why anyone wouldn’t be willing to donate organs after death – it’s macabre – something out of ancient Egypt. As if you will be condemned to walk for eternity without corneas or kidneys. Dead bodies are just dirt.

    The implication is that a dead body is somehow invested with a will or some other magical property. When a person dies, the body is no longer ‘owned’ in any meaningful sense. It is not moral to let it rot or be incinerated, when it could save or improve lives.

    I know this ‘right’ is deeply ingrained. I would ask people to consider their reasoning.

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    “Dead bodies are just dirt.”

    Well, if you believe that, feel free to make the personal decision to donate everything you’ve got. That is your choice.

    However, a lot of people disagree. In most cultures and religions there are strict rules about respecting the dead and the handling of human remains. Lots of religions believe the body will ressurect in the state it was buried. It is not for you and I to say that this belief is right or wrong. But it should be respected, like every other person’s belief.

    “When a person dies, the body is no longer ‘owned’ in any meaningful sense”
    Not quite true. Under common law, there is a legal obligation on the executive of the estate to dispose of the body. This implies at least temporary responsibility or guardianship over the decision making of matters regarding the human remains.

    The rituals regarding death are extremely important to society as how we treat our dead reflects on how we celebrate life as well.

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    I have to tolerate other people’s beliefs. I do not have to respect their beliefs.
    You still avoid the issue of moral obligation, that you raised, by an appeal to religion and ritual as an authority.

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    You have misrepresented my views. It is not my view, nor the view of Sharelife as a group, that organ donation is an obligation or that there is any implied right. Saying no is a right that I respect.

    There is an opportunity for many more people to benefit from the generous gift of others, who are willing to become donors. At no point do I, or have I, suggested that it is anything but a gift to humanity to be made by informed consent.

    With regard to your later comments regarding religious and cultural beliefs you may be interested to look at these links for clarification.

    Religion and donation

    It is also important to note that when a transplant occurs in Australia, the donor and recipient are treated with the utmost respect, dignity and care by Australia’s medical professionals.



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