‘Yes, unless’: Dutch lawmakers approve bill to put every citizen on organ donor list

© Keith Bedford
Every Dutch citizen may soon find themselves on the organ donation list, if a ‘yes unless’ bill, which has passed the lower house of parliament, gets the green light. Those objecting to being on the register would have to specifically ask to be taken off.

Seventy-five MPs voted in favor of the draft legislation on Tuesday, while 74 voted against, DutchNews.nl reported.

If passed into law, every single Dutch citizen would be put on the organ donation list, unless they requested their removal.

“This is great news for everyone on the waiting list,” D66 (center-left) parliamentarian Pia Dijkstra said. “Every year, 150 people die who could have been alive with a donor organ.”

The draft bill was drawn up by Dijkstra, who was visibly emotional during the 'yes' vote, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported.

The bill was supported by Labour, Democrats 66 (D66), the Socialists, Groenlinks, seven People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) MPs, 50Plus, and one independent. It will now be considered in the upper house of parliament.

The Netherlands isn't the first country to propose an opt-out system to organ donation. Wales instituted a similar policy last year, under which people over the age of 18 who have lived in the country for more than 12 months and die in the country are automatically considered organ donors, unless they have specifically opted out.