The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Resolved: Just governments ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,064 times Debate No: 72176
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




The resolution is as stated.
Resolved: Just governments ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.
The format will go as follows:

Round 1: Acceptance and Opening Pro Arguments
Round 2: Con (Arguments and Refutations) Pro (Arguments and Refutations)
Round 3: Con (Arguments and Refutations) Pro (No Arguments or Refutations, or Automatic Loss)

Thank you to whomever accepts, and best of luck to my opponent.

*This debate is under the premise of whether or not the resolution will make the government most just. Accordingly, no arguments claiming that there is not just government will be found with any merit. All arguments as such will be disregarded and treated as irrelevant.*


I have accepted this challenge that i find very interesting.
the procurement of organs from the deceased is an hardly debated topic.
the main aspect to be considered is that the patients waiting for a transpant procedure outnumber the organs suitable for transplantation. many patients suffer from an advanced organ failure beiing unable to wait for the organ. they die without having had any opportunity to survive
increasing the pool of donors by using organs from deceased can shortens the time spent in waiting list, offering opportunity to a large portion of patients.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. :) Let the argumentation begin.

Abraham Lincoln was once quoted in saying, “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” Presumed consent is a disputable issue. Taking organs from someone should not be something done without that person’s consent. Each individual should have the first and final say in the decision of donating vital organs, and with an opt-out presumed consent plan, this is not the case. Implicating an opt-in system would be an ideal solution. Presumed consent takes away these rights of the first and final decision. Please note:

Negative Value Premise: The most important value is liberty.

Accepting an opt-out presumed consent system for organ procurement from the deceased is a perfect example of the government stepping across their boundaries and threatening individual citizen liberty. We have the exemption of organ procurement as of now, but that right could be threatened if presumed consent is used.

Negative Judging Criterion: whichever side promotes egalitarianism should win the debate.

For purposes of clarification, the following term is defined.

Egalitarianism: Having equal rights, regardless of social, economic, or other distinctions such as income, race, or religious or political beliefs.

Justification for opposing the resolution can be seen in the following case. Please note:

Con. 1: Medical experts are opposed to presumed consent.

Medical professionals and doctors do not believe that presumed consent is a good idea.

James Childress, Prof. Ethics, U. Virginia, Organ Donation: Opportunities for Action, 2006

“In 2005, the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association (AMA) recommended that physicians not support a presumed-consent policy unless small, well-designed pilot studies established that it would be effective. The Council believes that unless data from these pilot studies ‘suggest a positive effect on donation, neither presumed consent nor mandated choice for deceased donation should be widely implemented.’ At this point, the Council contends, it is unknown whether implementation of presumed consent (or of mandated choice) ‘would positively or negatively affect the number of organs transplanted.’”

The experts’ advice should not be taken lightly. If a professional believes it is a wrong idea, they probably have a good and well-supported reason behind it. It is imperative that we realize the detrimental significance of presumed consent.

Con. 2: Presumed consent doesn’t mean more organs will be available.

The simple fact of presumed consent and an opt-out system doesn’t mean that more organs will be donated. In fact,

Jesse Schold & Dorry Segev, Nature Reviews Nephrology, June 2012

“Moreover, numerous examples exist of countries, such as the US, which do not have a presumed consent policy but have significantly higher donor rates than countries with presumed consent, suggesting that other processes or cultural factors may impact donation rates more strongly than policy alone.”

If presumed consent doesn’t actually help, there is no reason to force the society into it.

Furthermore, minority groups are having their rights taken from them.

This can be seen in:

Con. 3: Presumed consent undermines liberty and egalitarianism.

James Childress, Prof. Ethics, U. Virginia, Organ Donation: Opportunities for Action, 2006

“Another set of ethical concerns about policies of presumed consent focus on justice and fairness in the distribution of societal burdens, including the burden of decision making about the donation of organs from deceased individuals. More specifically, concerns have emerged that “some groups, such as those who do not speak English or cannot read and write, and those with limited or fluctuating mental capacity, have difficulty in expressing a refusal or understanding the system.’”

This reveals how presumed consent approaches to organ shortages disadvantage minority groups. These minority groups are inadvertently being governmentally controlled, thus undermining liberty in these presumed consent opt-out systems.

It is for these reasons that I politely urge a negative ballot in today’s debate. With this in mind, please move with me to my opponent's case.

My opponent begins by explaining that more people need donated organs than there are organs donated. While this is true, we must look towards alternatives to bring in further donations rather than the system defined in the resolution; one that harms individual autonomy and human dignity.

"The major downfall of the presumed consent system flows from its violation of ethical values three, four, and five of the Task Force list, i.e., respecting individual autonomy, showing respect for the decedent and the wishes of the family. By removing an individual's organs without his or her permission, presumed consent not only violates the individual's autonomy, but it also interferes with the decedent's bodily integrity and is extremely disrespectful to the wishes of the family. As Mehlman states, The suffering that this would inflict on the family, the disempowering of the patient that would result from denying him an opportunity to control the disposition of his own body, and the distrust of health care providers that this would breed are so significant that they could outweigh any benefit that transplantation might provide. Indeed, they could undermine the organ donation system as a whole."

As I have shown in my case, the proposed resolution allows for abuse to both of those values. Moreover, as I have discussed in my case, egalitarian factors such as poverty are open to abuse, harming the lower end of the social spectrum.

Sara Naomi Rodriguez, (J.D.), FIU LAW REVIEW, Fall 2011.
"Presumed consent organ donation laws are also problematic from a social justice perspective. Past experiences with presumed consent laws have shown that racial, cultural, and socioeconomic factors inevitably lead to their disparate impact on marginalized groups, such as the poor, uneducated, and minorities."

Furthermore, as shown previously, this resolution won't actually accelerate the pace of donated organs.

David Orentlicher, (Prof., Law Indiana U. School of Law), RUTGERS LAW REVIEW, Winter 2009.
"Proponents of "presumed consent" to organ donation have always faced an uphill battle. In supporting a presumption that people want to donate their organs after death – and a policy of organ removal in the absence of an objection by decedents or their family – advocates push a policy that goes against the grain of American individualism and is more at home in countries with a stronger communitarian ethic."

Since the proposed policy isn't beneficial, we should look towards other ways of promoting organ donation to both assist individuals in need of organ donation, and not harm the dignity, autonomy, and wishes of the deceased individuals and their family. Besides this, presumed consent hasn't been more effective than the status quo, or our current system.

Thomas Mone, (CEO, One Legacy – a Nonprofit Donor Network), NEW YORK TIMES, July 17, 2009.
"There is no silver-bullet solution for the tragedy of long waits and deaths on the waiting list for kidneys. Mr. Rose proposes that we immediately change the system so that people would have to opt out of donating organs rather than opt in. In Spain, which Mr. Rose cites, and many of the 'presumed consent' countries, families are still asked about organ recovery and must give their consent. These practices essentially mirror what happens in the United States. Also, the American rate of donors per million population is better than in the 'presumed consent' countries, with the exception of Spain, largely due to its higher death rates. The mythology of 'presumed consent' is a distraction. We should be focusing on enabling individuals to register as donors at the Department of Motor Vehicles and ensuring that their choice to donate is honored by law and fulfilled."

This shows that Spain is the only recognized "beneficiary" with organ donation while using presumed consent, but we must realize the reasons behind their success with organ donation cannot be accredited to presumed consent.

"One might, at first, think that Spain's success is the result of the adoption of a presumed consent based system. However, though under the Spanish law organ donation appears to be automatic due to the presumed consent system, there is a general understanding that doctors still have to ask the family. Thus, even in presumed consent countries, "the actual donors remain the family." Since the medical teams need to obtain consent from the family of the deceased, "presumed consent is not the sole cause" of Spain's success. In fact, as seen, the United States has a higher DD-pmp rate than countries like France and Belgium, which are presumed consent countries."

The presumed consent system is obviously a very relaxed policy, and not as strict as the resolution proposes. As mentioned in the previous source from Thomas Mone, we also see success of organ donation in Spain because of higher death rates. This, in and of itself, has no correlation to presumed consent success.

With all of this in mind, I would urge a vote in negation (con) in today's debate.

Thanks to my opponent once again for not only accepting, but for providing a hasty response. Good luck on further rounds. :)



First of all I would like to thank my opponent for his observations. Secondly, I would like to provide some numbers in order to precisely identify how great the problem related to insufficient number of donors is. At the same time, I would like to point out the mortality rate for people listed (/waiting) for organ transplantation.
Every day in the United States, 17 people die waiting for an organ transplant. The number of people waiting to have the explantation has more than tripled over the last ten years and now exceeds 82,000 individuals; at the same time, the number of donors has remained relatively stagnant (OPTN, 2004). In 2001, 6,439 people died while waiting for a transplant, nearly double the 3,916 candidates who died while waiting just five years earlier in 1996 (OPTN, 2004;The Lewin Group, 2000; Wright, 1998). Neither the number of listed people nor the number of patients who are dying each year is showing any sign of decrease. Instead, there is only an increasing organ shortage crisis in the United States.
That can get us aware of how great the problem is. People who suffer from an advanced organ failure don"t have any chance to survive unless they undertake an organ transplantation as soon as possible.

Ancient people don"t get upset if I borrow a phrase from them

"Hic mors gaudet succurrere vitae"

that means, for the ones who are not familiar with Latin:

"That is the field of human activity where the death enjoy to rescue the life"

My opponent declared that the presumed consent to donate organs didn"t have any effect on the increase of donor organ procurement. However we should take into account that the presumed content policy is a strategy adopted by several countries in order to overcome the problem of insufficient organ supply.
I reply him reporting some data from a systematic review published on BMJ in 2009 - BMJ 2009;338:a3162 doi:10.1136/bmj.a3162.

All five studies, which represent the experience of three countries, found an increase in organ donation rates obtained after the introduction of presumed consent legislation. In Austria there were 4.6 donors per million population per year before the introduction of the legislation. The number of donors increased dramatically after the introduction of the presumed consent legislation: 10.1 donors per million population after the first four years;
We would like to report here a couple of examples: in Belgium kidney donation increased from 18.9 to 41.3 per million population per year over a three year period, and in Singapore kidney procurement increased from 4.7 to 31.3 per million population, also over a three year period.

In UK, the supply of donor organs is insufficient to meet the need for transplantation and a change in legislation to promote the presumed consent has been proposed.

The introduction of presumed consent legislation in other countries is thought to have led to increased donation rates.

The evidence suggests that presumed consent law is associated with increased organ
donation rates. Other factors such as availability of potential donors, infrastructure for transplantation, investment in health care and public attitudes may all play a role, but the relative importance of these factors is unclear.

Finally i would like to conclude highlighting the psychological aspect associated to the effects of the presumed organ donors. The relatives or the people close to the donor must face a difficult decision that they probably don't want to carry out.
According to the law organs can be obtained from whom who didn't registry an objection. Moreover this law could relieve the relatives of the burden of making that decision at a such traumatic time.

My opponent remarked that a lack of understanding rather than an agreement with the policy might have caused a person to not registry an objection. We agree but we suggest to adopt the soft Spanish law that establishes that health care professional still consult the family to obtain the permission
Debate Round No. 2


R03;I would like to thank my opponent for his/her response. :)

My opponent initially brings up an emotional appeal, trying to prove his side by showing statistics of suffering. While his statistics are relatively correct, it is essential to understand presumed consent, and the effects it will have on society. To effectively counter such an appeal, I must use evidence to support my stance in opposition. Just because people die doesn't mean we should make a hasty and errorous decision to attempt to solve the problem. In reality, presumed consent doesn't necessarily help those 17 people each day. While its attempt is to draw more donations to assist those individuals, the system can't facilitate organ donations on its own. The foremost reason behind presumed consent's fallibility is because of how it imposes on individual lives. First, it harms freedom of religion.

Carrie Parsons O’Keeffe, (J.D., U. Texas), TEXAS FORUM ON CIVIL LIBERTIES & CIVIL RIGHTS, Fall 2002.
"Presumed consent to the removal of one's body tissues by the state deprives individuals of numerous rights. Freedom of religion is one of these fundamental rights, and its deprivation involves procedural due process considerations. Similarly, although the next-of-kin of a decedent do not possess full property rights over the body, they nonetheless are entitled to a quasi-property right under state law that grants rights to either donate or refuse to donate organs."

Secondly, it harms privacy.

Curtis Harris, (Prof., Law, Oklahoma City U. School of Law), ISSUES IN LAW & MEDICINE, Spr. 2001.
"In America, nationalization of cadavers has never been seriously considered, and presumed consent is disfavored. Personal autonomy is strongly embedded in our laws and values, and any law that even appears to interfere with autonomy will face stiff opposition. Personal physical autonomy has been held to be a constitutional right in such cases as Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, and any law proposing presumed consent would surely be challenged under these precedents."

Thirdly, presumed consent is inherently socialistic in nature and harms democratic principles.

Maryellen Liddy, (J.D. Candidate), FORDHAM URBAN LAW JOURNAL, Feb. 2001
"Using John Stuart Mill's thesis of self-regarding actions, the smallpox vaccinations were permissible state interferences into liberty, because they were necessary to prevent a distinct harm to others. Specifically, during a smallpox epidemic, an unvaccinated person likely will spread a highly contagious virus, causing illness and death to others, unless the state acts to protect its citizens. Presumed consent organ donation, on the other hand, is not a preventative measure designed to ensure that the affected individual refrains from injuring others. Rather, presumed consent harvesting, like Gerald Dworkin's concept of impure paternalism, involves the state's affirmative removal of one person's body part to benefit some unknown other person. Although such altruism, when voluntary, is to be commended, it is certainly not required in a democratic society. Of course, Mill writes that a society that engages in such compulsion is not truly free."

All three of these points, each confirmed by credible sources, point to individual harm resulting from presumed consent.

My opponent's second point is in regards to "borrowing" something from another person. This argument, however is lacking. The example he brings up is not applicable or relevant to the current proposal. Taking part of someone's body is vastly different than borrowing a phrase they frequently utilize.

The next argument my opponent brings up concerns the efficiency of presumed consent. R03;To back up his stance, he provided evidence from the BMJ (British Medical Journal). The evidence he cited from the publication indubitably supports presumed consent. However, in the conclusion of the same journal, we find the reality.

British Medical Journal: "Impact of presumed consent for organ donation on donation rates: a systematic review" 2009
"It cannot be inferred from this that the introduction of presumed consent legislation per se will lead to an increase in organ donation rates. The availability of potential donors, the underpinning infrastructure for transplantation, wealth and investment in health care, and underlying public attitudes may all have a role."

Thus, the same and only credible source my opponent has cited falls without merit, as they admit to the fact that presumed consent cannot singularly increase organ donation rates. This is further proven by the following evidence.

Sara Naomi Rodriguez, (J.D.), FIU LAW REVIEW, Fall 2011, 186. Is presumed consent the answer to the organ shortage crisis in the United States? And even if it is, is it an answer that will be acceptable to the American people? Moreover, considering the inequities that have plagued presumed consent laws thus far, is it a just answer? As things stand right now, the answer to all of these questions is most likely no. The American people cherish their autonomy and privacy too much to view presumed consent laws as anything other than a direct affront to their personal liberty.

Further, note how medical professionals agree.

Dorry L. Segev (Ph.D, associate professor of surgery at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine) 2011
"Opt-out is not the magic bullet; it will not be the magic answer we have been looking for. With opt-out, the perception becomes, We will take your organs unless you take the time to fill out a form. That’s a dangerous perception to have. We only want to use donated organs from people who intended to donate.”

It's repeatedly proven that presumed consent is not the solvency to increasing organ donation.

The next argument my opponent brings is in regards to what we arleady know about the topic, specifically that presumed consent was implemented to be the solvency for lack of organ donation. The fallibility, however, to such a solution can be condensed into two primary points: the opt-out system itself, and secondly, the socialistic nature of presumed consent.

"The opt-out policy also appears to change how people think about the morality of organ donation, said a study published Sept. 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Researchers surveyed more than 300 people in the U.S. and Europe and found that those who lived in opt-out countries believed that donating organs after death was not as ethically consequential. They ranked it on the heroism scale as somewhere between letting other people go ahead in line and volunteering to work with the poor. Respondents in opt-in countries like the U.S., meanwhile, ranked organ donation after death as being on par with going on a hunger strike for a cause. "When citizens are presumed by the default option to be organ donors, organ donation is seen as something that one does unless some exceptional factor makes an individual particularly reluctant to participate," the study said. "In contrast, when citizens are presumed by the default option not to be organ donors, organ donation is seen as something noteworthy and elective and not something one simply does."

These individuals are not pleased with presumed consent, and the offending factor causes them to actually be displeased with organ donation as a whole. Essentially, presumed consent can actually lower organ donation rates. Secondly, citizens aren't particularly satisfactory with presumed consent because of its socialist concepts. Many feel it invites government tyranny and excessive power.

Carrie Parsons O’Keeffe, (J.D., U. Texas), TEXAS FORUM ON CIVIL LIBERTIES & CIVIL RIGHTS, Fall 2002.
"Subjecting the disposition of the human body itself to the whims of the majority inflicts a most humiliating and invasive tyranny. Presumed consent offends state, national, and international values as they are stated in our federal Constitution, the Texas State Constitution and statutes, and international human rights standards."

Besides this, the consitutionality in the U.S. is skeptical, concerning human rights.

Maryellen Liddy, (J.D. Candidate), FORDHAM URBAN LAW JOURNAL, Feb. 2001.
"As it remains, presumed consent organ donation laws intrude upon constitutionally protected individual and family-based rights, allowing an increasingly dominant state to commandeer personal decisions and invade private bodies. By paternalistically "snatching bodies" according to its whims, the government has usurped people's autonomy in a wholesale disregard for their constitutional rights. Because organ donation decisions belong to the individual and the family, and not the state, presumed consent laws are both unethical and unconstitutional."

My opponent's last argument referred to lack of understanding. This is one of the most pertinent points. The presumed consent system doesn't work due to lack of explanation and the unethical practices. As this is the last round with argumentation, I would like to thank my opponent for a great debate, and wish him luck on any other debates. :) Vote Con.


I wanted to take advantage of this last round to express my gratitude to my opponent who has struck up a very interesting topic and full of input for thought.
Reflections put forward by my opponent are full of references to laws and religious theories of individual who most likely will not have really faced a clinical problem.
stating that religion pays great attention to the process of the soul after death and not the fate of the remains materials, supporting the theories referring to religious precepts seem somewhat medieval.
What we are talking about is the prevailing medical relevance and perhaps legal.
you could argue for weeks or perhaps months trying to cite verse citations or theories in support of its position, but one to which I invite you all to think about is:
Is it right to have an opportunity to save the life of a man, and throw it away.
IS is right to continue to see a person slowly die and reject the assistance it deserves.
who is called to decide on the life and death of an individual?
What my opponent missed was the point of view of those who suffer!
I try to explain it with an example.
M - S, the mother of two girls began to suffer from postpartum cardiomyopathy, the symptoms have worsened more and more until they became so debilitating that she was no longer able to care for her children.
after many vicissitudes and a thousand tests. he was offered the inclusion in the list transplantation as the only alternative for survival.
MS has lived in expectation of the transplant for a whole year, going into and out of the hospital several times. M-S failed to survive the wait.
Never got a heart suitable for her. Doctors told her : few donors. just before the last crisis left her lifeless.
M-S will no longer see her children grow up.
A donor could have saved her.
But while people suffer and live with hope, we lose valuable time to discuss about philosophy aspects of donation.
Behind the unpredictable and unfortunate death of someone lies a great opportunity to give life to someone else.
Limiting this possibility will cause two families suffering rather than one.
Therefore vote for us, vote for people trying to give hope to people in more seriously sick and not to those from the top of his perfectionism pontificates indifference to those who were not so lucky.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
*Vote lol
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
Don't forget to debate lannan13 ;)
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
Okay. :)
Posted by lannan13 3 years ago
Remind me to vote tomorrow.
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
@evanallred123 I have in the past, yes.
Posted by evanallred123 3 years ago
Do you do LD, ColeTrain?
Posted by ColeTrain 3 years ago
That's the premise of the debate, yes. The Pro side is trying to prove that that action should be taken. It's a former LD topic.
Posted by Marauder 3 years ago
So the debate is over if a government should assume the right to just take people's organs after they die weather they are an Organ Donor or not?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The strongest argument is one from egalitarianism according to Con's first argument. His other arguments are good and all but it is the best argument in this debate. Pro's main argument is that forcing consent somehow increases organ donation rates. Con provided cross sectional evidence and pro time series evidence--and that is a superior technique. So at this point I would be leaning pro. Con uses Pro's source and proves that consent does not necessarily = more donation and that more factors are at work. This pretty much destroys Pro's argument. I am not given evidence that allowing donation benefits people from any viewpoint so he fails at egalitarianism. I am left with cons argument that presuming consent = bad for liberty, doesn't increase donations, and is not egalitarian.