Organ donor bill proposes ‘opt-out’ policy for Texas organ donation

In this photo taken June 28, 2016, Dr. Matthew Cooper carries the kidney donated by Dana Hudson to be transplanted into his wife, Brenda Hudson, in the operating room next door, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington. Brenda Hudson underwent two kidney transplants 40 years apart, and the surgeries showcase how far organ transplants have come and the hurdles that still await. More than 120,000 people are on the nation's waiting list for an organ transplant, most of them for kidneys, and thousands die before receiving one because of a dire shortage of donors. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
In this photo taken June 28, 2016, Dr. Matthew Cooper carries the kidney donated by Dana Hudson to be transplanted into his wife, Brenda Hudson, in the operating room next door, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington. Brenda Hudson underwent two kidney transplants 40 years apart, and the surgeries showcase how far organ transplants have come and the hurdles that still await. More than 120,000 people are on the nation's waiting list for an organ transplant, most of them for kidneys, and thousands die before receiving one because of a dire shortage of donors. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Wednesday, Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas is filing a bill that he hopes will save the lives of people who are in desperate need of an organ donation. Rep. Villalba says every day in Texas, 22 people die because there are not enough organ donations.

Villalba joined us in the KXAN studio to discuss his organ donor bill.

“We found that in Texas there have been a number of individuals who are waiting for organs, how is that possible in Texas,” says Villalba. “Well, the reason is because we don’t have enough organs in Texas.” Hearts, livers, and kidneys are the organs in most need.

Currently, to become part of the organ donor registry, you check the box for donors when you sign up for your driver’s license. Villalba’s proposal would change that system.

“We’re switching that system to say you’re going to be included in that with consent, that organ donor registry, unless you check the box to get out of it,” says Villalba.

If the bill passes, when you register for your driver’s license you would have to check the box to opt out of being a donor. A disclosure would first be given to the driver that they will be included in the registry if they do not check the box to opt out. Villalba specifies that this does not mean drivers are mandated or automatically signed up.

“The only reservations are from people who believe the government is taking organs without consent and we’ve dealt with that in the legislation,” says Villalba. “Most people on the registry will never be eligible to give their organs.”

Similar bills have already passed in Europe. In the United States, Texas is the first state to propose an organ donor bill.

You can also sign up to be an organ donor online here

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