2015 Undergraduate Awards

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Over 85% of Ontarians would like their organs to be donated after they die.1 Yet strangely, less than 25% of Ontarians are registered organ donors and Ontario law assumes that unless the deceased registered to be an organ donor prior to their death they did not want their organs to be donated after their death.2 As a result, every year, hundreds of Ontarians die awaiting an organ transplant while thousands of healthy organs from individuals who are in favour of organ donation, but failed to register as organ donors, are disposed of instead of transplanted.3 This situation is tragic, preventable and continues to worsen as the demand for organs increases and the supply flatlines.4 In this essay I am going to draw on libertarian paternalism to argue that the Ontario government ought to amend the law to presume that Ontarians want to be registered organ donors unless they choose to opt-out of being registered organ donors. To defend my thesis I am first going to explain the state of organ transplantation in Ontario (section one) and then outline possible improvements to the system (section two). Afterwards, I will argue that presumed consent ought to be implemented because it is politically feasible and the most libertarian paternalistic option (section three) and respond to objections against presumed consent (section 4). Section five will conclude.

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