We’ve become used to almost anything here in New York State—the dysfunctional band of career politicians in Albany have managed to leave us almost numb to things that would have shocked us even a decade ago. But yesterday’s news that a Downstate Democrat wants to start harvesting dead New Yorkers’ bodies for organs unless they specify otherwise still managed to catch us off guard.
The last time the state asserted such rights to do with as it pleased with the bodies of the dead and living was Dr. Josef Mengele’s Nazi laboratory.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (it’s always the Assembly Democrats, isn’t it?), the author of this ghoulish plan, is applying a neat new idea: “presumed consent.” In a nutshell, presumed consent means that, unless you specify otherwise, the government assumes you wanted to donate your organs.
The problem with such a notion is that Brodsky wants to apply it to our bodies, when the Constitution even bars its application on things like search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, agents of the government cannot search your home, your car, your clothing, or your body cavities without probable cause—and even then, they usually can’t do it without a warrant issued by a judge. The language is pretty blunt:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Notice that? Secure in their persons against unreasonable seizures? Taking my liver without asking counts.
A note to Dick Brodsky (who, by the way, wants to be your next attorney general!) might be in order here: If you take my kidneys without asking, you just violated my goddamn Constitutional rights, and frankly, I will haunt your big-government-loving ass from beyond the grave!
Apparently, Brodsky is driven to this foolishness by love for his daughter, who has needed two separate kidney transplants, and had to, like most organ transplant patients, wait for an organ. The heart bleeds. Honestly, I feel bad about Dick Brodsky’s daughter. Life’s not fair. But that doesn’t give Dick Brodsky and his daughter the right to lay my corpse out like a bunch of cold cuts unless I take the time to tell them no beforehand.
Dick Brodsky’s proposal marks a new low for an Albany that can’t even accomplish its basic responsibilities, like pass a budget on time. And now the Assembly Democrats believe can divine the intent of dead New Yorkers.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.