Burke proposal would require opt out for organ donations

Apr 14, 2019

State Assemblyman Patrick Burke of Buffalo is proposing a change in the system for donating organs in New York.

State Assemblyman Patrick Burke
Credit WBFO File Photo

Saturday afternoon, Burke released a news release saying he has introduced a bill that would create space on a drivers license application that would require people to opt out of the donor registry if they don't wish to donate organs.

But Burke apparently began receiving some criticism about his proposal on the internet. Late Saturday, Burke released a clarification.

"It feels as though clearing up misinformation on the internet has become a large part of my job," Burke wrote in his statement. "I did not submit a proposal to harvest people’s organs after they die and I did not submit a proposal to have an automatic organ donor program for every New Yorker."

Burke said it simply changes the question on the license application from an opt-in to an opt-out. He said he's just starting a conversation about the importance of organ donation.

"There are thousands of New Yorkers currently on the waitlist for a life saving organ," he said. "I believe this minor alteration on a NYS driver’s license application would increase the amount of people registered as organ donors in our state and could potentially save the lives of people waiting for a donor."

Burke said he won't press ahead with his proposal unless it has significant public support.