Burke: Public outreach and education needed before “opt-out” organ donor proposal resurfaces

Local News

Proposed legislation aimed at changing the wording of the organ donation question on the department of motor vehicle paperwork won’t be moving forward.

Assemblyman Patrick Burke (D-Buffalo) proposed the idea last week. He wanted to change question from asking people to “opt-in” — to instead, asking folks to “opt-out” of donating.

Burke says he received negative backlash from the public.

“I think there’s been a misunderstanding from a lot of people,” he said. “The importance in doing this, can only be accomplished with public support, right now I don’t believe it has the public support that it needs.”

The “Upstate New York Transplant Services” or UNYTS says the need for organ donors has reached a crisis level in New York State. More than 9 thousand men, women and children are waiting for transplants.

UNYTS released the following statement saying quote.

“We encourage the Legislature to explore opportunities to thoroughly examine the “opt-out” approach to donation, and to evaluate its effects in those nations where this system is currently in place.”

Burke says he plans to engage in public education and outreach, before reconsidering his proposal in the future.

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