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Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act 2006: Is it unconstitutional involuntary servitude?

By Paul A. Byrne, M.D.

The Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act 2006 has been passed in 35 states. Study of this Bill resulted in my presenting testimony in opposition at the Health, Human Services and Aging Committee of the Ohio Senate.

Before I found out about the Bill it had already been passed unanimously in the Ohio House of Representatives. The Bill was labeled Sub House Bill 529 (Sub HB529)/Uniform Anatomical Gift Act UAGA (2006). While I am focused on the Bill as it is considered in Senate Committee at the present time, it is identical to what has already been passed in many states and will be introduced in the other states soon. Everyone needs to learn about this bill and do everything possible to stop or repeal it. I will share some of my testimony.

Sub HB 592 is a PRESUMED INTENT Bill for organ donation and a PRESUMED CONSENT Bill for organ suitability measures. The Bill remarks six times about "Measures necessary to ensure the suitability of the part." These measures in preparation for organ donation include pre-harvesting invasive procedures that are done to a living person without informed consent.

This Bill neglects to define "Measures necessary to ensure the suitability of the part," although "part" is defined: "Part" is defined as an organ, an eye, or tissue of a human being. "Part" does not include the whole body. Furthermore, to PRESUME CONSENT AND INITIATE CARE OF PARTS THAT TRUMPS THE CARE OF THE WHOLE PERSON is more than PRESUMED CONSENT; it is forced treatment and INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE.

This Bill was drawn in a way that forces citizens to be placed into INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE by "measures necessary to ensure the suitability of the part." INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE is a VIOLATION of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction, and Article 1.06 of the Ohio Constitution. " 1.06 Slavery and involuntary servitude (1851) There shall be no slavery in this state; nor INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE, unless for the punishment of crime."

Ohio citizens are counting on their Ohio Senators and Representatives to protect them through passage of good laws. Sub HB 529/ not only does not protect Ohio citizens but also will place their life in jeopardy

The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act enacted in Ohio in 1969 stated that "a donation of an 'anatomical gift' means a donation of all or part of a human body to take effect UPON OR AFTER DEATH." Under Sub HB 529 referrals to the Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO) can be made "AT OR NEAR DEATH." "NEAR DEATH" is found 4 times in the Bill yet this Bill also neglects to define "near death." This is a major change from AFTER DEATH to NEAR DEATH.

Some say that the majority of citizens desire to be organ donors. This is not true. What a person would choose for themselves is shown in a question in a Gallup study. "Would you be willing to sign a donor card giving permission for YOUR organs to be donated upon your death?" 27% said yes. Texas introduced in 1991 a mandatory choice law requiring a yes or no at driver's license renewal. Only 20% chose to donate their organs. Approximately 1,000,000 Virginia drivers were asked to declare a donor preference. Only 31% registered as donors (data supplied by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles).Would informed citizens of Ohio be any different from citizens of Texas and Virginia and those polled in the Gallup study? (See Attachment).

According to Sub HB 529, If a prospective donor has an advance health-care directive that conflicts with organ donation, multiple mechanisms to override an advance health care directive are spelled out.

This Bill facilitates "donation by cardiac death" (DCD). These donors have a functioning brain, but the desire is to get healthy organs. For this to occur, a do not resuscitate order (DNR) is obtained. Then the ventilator is stopped. The patient is observed until there is no recorded pulse. Absence of heart beat or heart activity is not evaluated! An absence of pulse far as short as 1.25 minutes (75 seconds) is the signal to cut out the beating heart (New England journal of Medicine 8-14-08).

There seems to be a rush to label a patient "hopeless" or dead for the purpose of harvesting their organs. This Bill comes at a time when there is proof that people are pronounced dead while alive for the purpose of harvesting their organs. Recent reports of patients pronounced "brain-dead," who awoke before their vital organs were excised, include Zack Dunlap, Valerie Thomas, and Rae Kupferschmidt." If the plans to remove their organs had been carried out, they would have been killed in the process.. [1] How many others are aware of their plight but never get a chance to talk about it because true death is imposed on them as the vital organs are excised?

The removal of organs causing death of the donor constitutes grave infractions against the person. This Bill poses further injustices to Ohio citizens as it violates basic human rights and forces a person to serve for the benefit of another. I ask the Senators and every citizen of Ohio and the USA to study this Bill thoroughly.

But even if a sound minded person has an advance directive, their treatment plan can be DENIED AND TRUMPED by the Sub HB 529's written PRESUMED CONSENT for a person to be prepared as an organ donor unless the advance directive specifically states that the person "does not want to be placed or kept on a ventilator for the purpose of organ donation." AND STILL even if a person does have this specific advance directive "measures necessary for the suitability of the part" will continue until the advance directive is made known.

Most Ohio citizens are unaware of this Bill and its purpose to create new strategies to obtain organs for transplantation, research, education and therapy. This Bill results in "PRESUMED INTENT" to be an organ donor. The only way NOT to be an organ donor is to document refusal, there is no direction provided under this Bill.

The following are reasons why this bill poses threat to Ohio citizens:

1. Sub HB 529 creates presumed intent for organ donation. You can refuse, but answering at the Bureau of motor Vehicles (BMV) that you do not wish to be an organ donor is not considered a refusal.

2. Sub HB 529 creates presumed consent for "Measures necessary to ensure the medical suitability of the part shall not be withdrawn." These "measures" are not defined in the Bill and might be harmful [See Sub HB 529 Sec. 2108.14(B)].

3. Sub HB 529 removes sound mind to consent to being a donor [See HB 529 Sec. 2108.01(A)]. Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and mentally ill will certainly be taken advantage of by tissue banks and others who offer "free cremation" etc... in exchange for whole body donation (See Redwood Funeral Society Special Edition, April 2004, Vol. 9 No. 1)."A refusal can only be made by the individual whose parts are the subject of the refusal."

4. Sub HB 529 lacks the requirement for full and explicit informed consent standards that explain the procedures of pre-harvesting treatments and care and how the donor is either kept on a ventilator, reventilated or placed on a heart-lung machine to facilitate organ harvesting. Full and explicit consent of this and every other procedure ought to be required before a person commits to being placed on an organ donation registry.

5. Sub HB 529 allows technicians to remove donated parts from a living donor declared dead that is ventilated and has respiration [See Sub HB 529 Sec. 2108.16(A)].

6. Sub HB 529 states: "During a terminal illness or injury of the donor, communicating in any manner" can be construed to mean "that the donor intends to make an anatomical gift" [See Sub HB 529 Sec. 2108.05(A)(4)].

7. Sub HB 529 states:"Revocation, suspension, expiration, or cancellation of a driver's license or identification card upon which an anatomical gift is indicated does not invalidate the gift" [See Sub HB 529 Sec. 2108.05(C)].

8. Sub HB 529 traps a previously registered donor because "a donor's revocation of an anatomical gift of the donor's body or part is not a refusal and shall not bar another person specified in the now expanded list from making an anatomical gift of the donor's body or part" [See HB 529 Sec. 2108.04, Sec. 2108.05, Sec. 2108.06, Sec. 2108.08(B), Sec. 2108.09, Sec. 2108.09(A), and Sec. 2108.10(C)].

9. Sub HB 529 allows children in Ohio as young as 15 years of age to consent to organ donation when applying for a temporary instruction permit.

10. Sub HB 529 allows parents to y revoke the child's refusal or anatomical gift only if they are reasonably available which is defined as being "able to be contacted by a procurement organization without undue effort and willing and able to act in a timely manner" [See HB 529 Sec. 2108.04(A)(2), Sec. 2108.06(B)(6), and Sec. 2108.01 (X)].

Organ transplantation is already occurring without Sub HB 529. Ohio citizens are counting on their Ohio Senators and Representatives to protect them through passage of good laws. Sub HB 529 not only does not protect Ohio citizens but will place their life in jeopardy. Sub HB529 is not good for the citizens of Ohio or any other state.


[1] Zack Dunlap from Oklahoma, 'Dead' man recovery after ATV accident, Doctors said he was dead, and a transplant team was ready to take his organs until a young man came back to life

Val Thomas from West Virginia,2933,357463,00.html

Family Plans Funeral, Woman Miraculously Recovers

French man began breathing on own as docs prepared to harvest his organs

Paul A. Byrne, M.D.

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