To: House Human Services Committee
From: Kathryn Grafsgaard, Health Care Advocate
Subject: House Concurrent Resolution 3038, Organ Donation
Date: February 7, 2005

Chairman Price and members of the committee, I am Kathryn Grafsgaard, Health Care Advocate for the North Dakota Catholic Conference. I am here today to offer support for House Concurrent Resolution 3038.

The resolution directs the Legislative Council to study organ and tissue donation and actions that may be taken at the regional, state, local and private levels to increase organ and tissue donation.

Organ donation is, as Pope John Paul II states, a “concrete gesture of solidarity and self-giving love”. Outside of emergency medicine, few medical interventions so dramatically save the lives of imminently dying patients. Organ donation is not only a private matter, but one that has broad social justice implications. A just health care system is concerned with equity of care, and promoting the good health of all in the community.

The needs of the “community” of those in need of organ donation should be considered, as well as methods to maximize benefits to the group. The proposed study, considering all facts surrounding organ and tissue donation and thus increasing awareness of the issue, is a step in the right direction.

We strongly support the proposed study of organ and tissue donation, and urge that this work include a review of socially just methods of organ allocation.

We urge the committee to give a Do Pass recommendation to House Concurrent Resolution 3038.