Discussion of organ donation and transplantation has a sense of urgency since 114,000 people in the USA are awaiting organs of whom over 6000 die annually without receiving one. We will reflect on the medical, moral, legal, societal, and religious questions surrounding donation and transplantation. The crux of the problem is increasing the number of donors, developing an equitable allocation system, and improving the medical armentarium to lower the number of deaths from organ failure. Many argue that organized giving, not routine taking, is morally preferable because it affirms the autonomy of the person over the use of his/her body. It allows a person to perform an act of charity, that is, donating organs rather than violating one’s responsibility for future use of his/her body. However, based on the insufficient number of organs in relationship to the staggering need, there may be a moral imperative to consider donating one’s organs after death.
Dr. Abigail Rian Evans has over twenty-five years of experience in the development of innovative approaches to health and wellness. She is a senior scholar-in-residence at the Center for Clinical Bioethics, among other roles, including Charlotte Newcombe Professor of Practical Theology, emerita of Princeton Theological Seminary, where she also served as the Director of the Intern and Clinical Pastoral Education programs and taught 12 different courses on bioethics, pastoral care and health care issues. She has drawn widely from the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry, ethics, religion and spirituality and has been instrumental in developing effective new approaches for the delivery of health care in her extensive publications and lectures.