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In recent decades, developed nations, such as the United States, have seen the gap between the demand and the supply of transplantable organs widen, despite national campaigns intended to promote donor registration. This organ shortage crisis has deprived thousands of a basic quality of life and has caused a substantial increase in the cost of alternative medical care such as dialysis. In an attempt to address the shortage, some countries have instituted explicit “opt-out” and “priority allocation” policies that operate under the principle of presumed consent and offer higher priority on transplantation lists to registered donors. This paper seeks to justify such legislation, exploring the ethical implications and highlighting the potential benefits of an opt-out and priority allocation organ donation system. It argues that such policies should be made a legislative priority in order to strengthen the national organ donation system of the United States.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.