Connecticut law does not mandate motorcyclists wear a helmet but a bill proposed by Senate Leader Martin Looney would require the automatic harvesting of organs when death occurs without wearing one.
The American Motorcyclist Association declares the Bill “robs motorcyclists of bodily autonomy.”
When an AMA representative contacted Looney’s office, his staff responded that the bill was proposed to help fix declining organ donation rates in Connecticut and dissuade motorcyclists from riding without a helmet, according to an AMA news release.
“The staffer stated that their position was that if motorcyclists put their lives at risk by riding helmetless, they assume those riders don’t care where their organs end up.”
The issue is featured prominently on Tom Dudchik’s CT Capitol Report.
State Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, a member of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation, is House chair of the Public Health Committee where Looney has introduced the bill.
News release from AMA
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) recently expressed outrage and began the fight against Connecticut’s proposed legislation, S.B. 96, which would presuppose that any street-riding motorcyclist killed would automatically become an organ donor if they were not wearing a helmet, something that’s currently legal under Connecticut state law for riders over the age of 18.
“The bill shows callous disregard for the motorcycling public,” said AMA Government Relations Director Mike Sayre. “Organ donation is a noble cause that regularly saves lives around the country, but the decision to become a donor is a deeply personal one–one that this legislation would take away from motorcyclists.”
“Not only is this bill insulting to motorcyclists,” Sayre added, “but it also violates the religious liberty of those whose faith prohibits posthumous organ donation, and is clearly an unconstitutional violation of bodily autonomy for any American.”
Within the text of the bill, the statement of purpose reads, simply, “to improve public health.” The AMA counters that if public health is really a concern, preventing motorcycle crashes in the first place must be the priority. This bill makes motorcyclist safety a secondary concern, reducing motorcyclists to little more than a collection of organs to be harvested upon their death.
When the AMA Government Relations Department contacted Senator Looney’s office, his staff responded that the bill was proposed to help fix declining organ donation rates in Connecticut and dissuade motorcyclists from riding without a helmet. The staffer stated that their position was that if motorcyclists put their lives at risk by riding helmetless, they assume those riders don’t care where their organs end up.
While the Senator’s office cites declining organ donation in the state, New England Donor Services, the parent organization of the New England Organ Bank–which is the federally designated Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) responsible for coordinating organ and tissue donation in the New England Area–expressed to the AMA its opposition to any legislation that presumes consent for organ donation.
According to New England Donor Services, the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) is the model statute that governs deceased organ and tissue donation, and it’s one that has been adopted in every state of the Union. The UAGA is based upon gift law principles and requires an affirmative voluntary act, something that S.B. 96 completely disregards.
The AMA, which represents more than 225,000 motorcyclists across the country, contacted Connecticut Senate President Pro Tempore, Martin M. Looney, who introduced S.B. 96, demanding that he withdraw the offensive bill and make amends with the motorcycling community.
The AMA continues to fight to protect the future of motorcycling, with members from all walks of life coming together to celebrate and defend two-wheeled freedom from proposals like S.B. 96. Similar bills have been defeated by the AMA and its members, who have stood up and made their voices heard, and the AMA will continue fighting this despicable bill on behalf of motorcyclists in Connecticut and around the country.
The AMA urges Connecticut residents to take action by visiting https://www.votervoice.net/Motorcyclist/Campaigns/100162/Respond.