Friday, February 03, 2017 09:42 AM
SPRINGFIELD – Senators James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) joined Secretary of State Jesse White today in announcing new legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.
“I am happy to be advocating for this legislation,” said Clayborne who is a kidney recipient.
“Organ donation is very important in helping to save lives. This legislation will help to shorten the list and get much needed donations to people whose lives depend on them.”
Under current law, an individual must be at least 18 to join the registry. Those who join the registry will receive a letter from the Secretary of State’s office thanking them for joining. White encourages 16- and 17-year-olds to use this letter as a basis for discussing their decision with their parents.
Senator Hunter, who is carrying Senate Bill 868 in the Senate, said she is proud to help work to end the uncertainty for thousands across the state who are waiting for a donation.
“Choosing to give life to another is a wonderful gift,” Hunter said.
By joining the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, 16- and 17-year-olds will be giving consent to donate their organs and tissue at the time of their death, with a single limitation. The procurement organizations, Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Network and Mid-America Transplant, must make a reasonable effort to contact a parent or guardian to ensure that they approve of the donation. The parent or guardian will have the opportunity to overturn the child’s decision. Once the 16- or 17-year-old turns 18, the decision would be considered legally binding without limitation.
“Our goal is always to save lives,” White said. “Thousands of Illinoisans are waiting for an organ. Many of those who wait are someone’s mother, father, daughter or son. This legislation, which the vast majority of other states have implemented, is an important step in reducing the number of those on the waiting list.”
Approximately 4,700 people are on the waiting list and about 300 people die each year waiting for an organ transplant. One person can improve the quality of life for up to 25 people. Currently, 6.1 million Illinoisans are registered with the state’s registry.
Illinoisans can register with the Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Registry at lifegoeson.com, by calling 1-800-210-2106 or visiting their local Driver Services facility.