I wonder how you feel about the current transplant debate? Gordon Brown supports a change in the law to give the State the right to remove and reuse organs from deceased individuals, unless they have specifically opted out.
There are, of course, good arguments in favour of increasing the number of organs available for transplant. If availability of an organ might save my life or that of someone dear to me, I imagine that I might feel the gift of life outweighed any personal sensibilities.
But I find the idea of the State awarding itself ownership of our bodies altogether too reminiscent of 'Brave New World' and 'The Handmaid's Tale'. The conscious choice of an individual to gift his remains so as to give a chance of life or health to another is generous and altruistic, but I am not sure the 'right' to life is such that the State should be empowered to seize cadavers for dissection and the removal of body parts under the noses of grieving children, parents and partners.
I can see other difficulties too. Not so much the fear that hospitals, keen to get their hands on organs in best useable condition, would 'give up' on patients earlier than might otherwise be the case - although there would always be that risk. What I suspect would be inevitable though, would be strong institutional pressure against death at home, so that organs could be 'harvested' in the freshest possible condition - just as for years hospitals made it very difficult for mothers to choose a home birth. The prospect of a duty to report deaths of loved ones immediately to the local hospital, so that 'organ snatch squads' could tear up one's stairs to the master bedroom, scalpels twinkling, is equally unthinkable.
Deemed consent would inevitably bring a shift in attitudes. From the present position in which a donor's family are welcomed as benefactors by the medical establishment and organ recipients - bringing them pride and solace - there would be the sense that organs were taken by right, and perhaps vexation with the relatives of anyone who'd opted out. In any case the chances are that, with the burden of proof on next of kin, by the time they had discovered and were able to demonstrate that their loved one had opted out, any organs would have been long gone.
So I come down emphatically on the side of sticking with an 'opt in' approach, albeit with better publicity and encouragement.