Secretary of State Jesse White initiated legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s organ and tissue donor registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card.
“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.”
The legislation amends the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to join the donor registry. Under current law, an individual must be at least 18 to join. 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.
By joining the 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 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, his or her decision would be considered legally binding without limitation. Continue reading