Organ donation: Switzerland votes for opt-out system

In Switzerland, 60 percent of those who voted in a referendum on Sunday were in favour of an opt-out system for organ donation, whereby when a person dies their consent for organ removal is presumed unless stipulated otherwise while they were alive. The national media welcome the result despite certain reservations voiced before the vote - likely also due to an important detail.

Open/close all quotes
Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

Topic finally on everyone's agenda now

The government must now give the people comprehensive information on their rights and obligations regarding organ donation, the Aargauer Zeitung demands:

“On the one hand almost 40 percent voted against the new rule, which can also be seen as an expression of general scepticism about organ donation. Such concerns must be taken seriously. On the other hand the donation rate will only increase if the opt-out model does what it is intended to do, namely get people talking to each other about organ donation. ... The Swiss form of the opt-out system is cautious because it assumes that every person is a donor, but the organs are not removed without the relatives' consent.”

Blick (CH) /

Individual responsibility remains key

Death is part of life and is a topic that should be discussed at the dinner table, emphasises the tabloid Blick:

“Regardless of whether you are willing to donate your organs or not: what matters is that you take the decision - and express your will. ... If you are not entered in the register, the decision remains with your relatives. It is up to them to say yes or no at the deathbed. And it is understandable that, overwhelmed by grief and excessive demands, they tend to refuse. So make your own decision!”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Farewell to liberal view of humanity

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung insists on an individual's freedom of choice:

“Without doubt, those who want to donate can and should do so. ... The decisive factor is that the donor decides to do so voluntarily, out of his own conviction. The opt-out model wants to put an end to this: organ donation is to be transformed from a voluntary act of charity, from an altruistic act, into a state-imposed rule. ... Self-determination and individual responsibility are being eroded, state power is growing. Such a policy has nothing to do with a liberal view of humanity.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

No transplants without a donor card

Anyone who wants to be eligible for an organ transplant should be prepared to donate their own organs, the Tages-Anzeiger reasons:

“If having one's organs removed is ethically untenable, then so is accepting an organ from another donor. In other words: those who reject organ donation - perhaps for good reason - should should then refrain from receiving an organ transplant. Taking but not giving is not only selfish, it's above all inconsistent. ... A rule could be introduced: the earlier you give your consent to donate your organs, the quicker you move up the (long) waiting list for organs if you need one. In that case, an opt-out solution such as the one being voted on would be superfluous. Because enough people would consent of their own accord.”