Urs Bieri from gfs.bern saw the priority in saving lives with donated organs, as he told Radio SRF. It was a collective decision to make the organs available and give up some self-determination in return.
The yes is not surprising: In the two most recent surveys by Tamedia and SRG, the proposal received a yes share of 61 percent. These quotas remained almost unchanged during the voting campaign.
Switzerland is now changing from a consent rule to an opt-out rule for organ donation. In principle, everyone is an organ donor if they did not actively object during their lifetime. Switzerland is thus taking the path chosen by several European countries.
The Swiss form of objection solution is called “extended” because close relatives can be asked about the presumed wishes of the deceased. This is the case if the deceased person did not make their wishes known in writing.
The changes in the Transplantation Act are an indirect counter-proposal to the more radically worded popular initiative “Promote organ donation – save lives”. In contrast to the amendment to the law, the initiative did not regulate the inclusion of relatives. As the counter-proposal enters into force, it is withdrawn.
The changeover to the new regulations will take place in 2023 at the earliest, because first the new register must be prepared, in which the donor’s will or rejection of a donation can be entered. In addition, the law stipulates that the population must be informed regularly and comprehensively about the new regulation.
The forces that prevailed at the ballot box saw the change from consent to objection as a response to the shortage of organs in Switzerland. According to surveys, many people would be willing to donate an organ. However, many do not write down their will.
Questioned relatives who do not know, therefore often reject the organ donation. According to the proponents, the “extended objection solution” increases the chances for the sick to receive a healthy organ more quickly, because it can be assumed that the deceased consented to the organ removal.
According to the Swisstransplant foundation, 1,462 people in Switzerland were waiting for a donor organ at the end of March. One to two people would die every week because no suitable organ could be found for them during the waiting period, the supporters’ committee wrote. In Switzerland there are three times as many people waiting for an organ as there are available organs.
An independent and non-partisan referendum committee called “No to organ donation without explicit consent” opposed the system change. It argued that there was no scientific evidence that the opt-out solution would actually lead to more organ donation.
It is also ethically questionable to make responsible people organ donors who would not have objected during their lifetime. If you don’t explicitly refuse to have your organs removed, others will dispose of your body after death, by law. The constitution guarantees the right to physical integrity and self-determination.
The committee also does not think it is feasible for everyone in Switzerland to be sufficiently informed about the regulations on organ removal – for example because they do not speak the language or do not want to deal with their own death. The law now provides for such an information obligation.