By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
No one can ever accuse the government of being consistent. In fact, as two recent developments in different states suggest, it seems these days that the focus is far much more on the ends rather than on the means.
In one case, New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky--who wants to be attorney general--wants to force every resident of the state to become an organ donor. In another, the Oklahoma Legislature has enacted, over Gov. Brad Henry’s veto, a new law that requires women seeking abortions to first undergo an ultra-sound.
Democrats are, as might be expected, up in arms over the Oklahoma measure, arguing that it violates a woman’s right to privacy. They are, however, strangely silent over what Brodsky--who is also a Democrat--wants to do, as though somehow the harvesting of a person’s organs, without their explicit pre-mortem consent and possibly over the objection of family members, is not.
It is certainly true, as Brodsky and others maintain, that there are not enough organs available for transplant. In part that is because it is illegal for one individual to contract with another to sell their own organ to a person who needs one. To some, that may sound barbaric--and perhaps it is--but the sale of one’s own kidney or a portion of one’s own liver to a person in need is at least a volitional act, something one might argument someone should be free to choose to do. To automatically enroll people into an organ donor program, even with an opt-provision like the one that is part of Brodsky’s bill, is an over-reach of state power beyond what the framers ever considered. Welcome to the brave, new world.