Citizens of Argentina over 18 years are now automatically registered as organ donors unless they explicitly state otherwise, according to a new law passed Wednesday by a unanimous Argentine Congress. The law was introduced to Argentina’s Senate at the end of May.
Government officials were originally inspired to create transplant legislation by the death of 12-year-old Justina Lo Cane. Justina, who had congenital heart disease, died on November 22, 2017, while waiting for a heart transplant. Dubbed Justina’s Law, and similar to those in nations like the Netherlands, the legislation is on its way to the desk of President Mauricio Macri. It passed Argentina’s Congress with 202 votes and no abstentions.
In the four months spent looking for her heart replacement, Justina’s family created a campaign that translated to “Multiply Yourself by Seven” to create awareness of organ donation and remind people their lives “multiply” with each donated organ. The priority of the campaign, which had its own Spanish hashtag, was to get the attention of the Central National Institute for Coordination of Ablation and Implantation.
The law does not clarify how an individual could make clear that he or she refuses to be an organ donor, but said any form of refusal provided would be accepted. The law takes away the need for the family to consent to organ donation. More than 7,000 Argentines are reportedly waiting for organ transplants, according to Bloomberg News.
“We ask that we prevent more people from losing their lives in our country and more families from being destroyed. You have today in your hands that huge possibility,” said a note from Argentina’s Senator Juan C. Marino attached at the end of the document.
The note also called to action the nation of 44 million people, saying: “There are many systems today related to the distribution, exchange or adjudication of organs according to different rules of action, but if there is no availability of organs, what use do they have?”