Abstract: I compare the advantages and disadvantages of an opt-out system of cadaveric organ donation with those of the UK's current opt-in system, and of a third alternative known as the "presumptive approach" -- an opt-in system in which counsellors attempt to exert positive influence on the decisions of next-of-kin in favour of donation. I argue that an opt-out system would not only improve organ donation rates, but would also better protect the autonomy of individuals than either the current system or the presumptive approach. I argue that the irrational cognitive bias known as "status quo bias" not only helps to explain the ineffectiveness of opt-in systems, but also underlies intuitive objections to adopting an opt-out system
Dr Simon Rippon holds a joint Fellowship between the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Harvard University Program in Ethics and Health. His areas of research interest include metaethics, moral epistemology, bioethics, and political philosophy. Currently he is researching topics including the the nature of moral expertise and its significance for health policy, the therapy/enhancement distinction, conscientious objection, and idealized moral disagreement.