Be Still My Heart and Lower my DMV fees

| Thu Jan. 31, 2008 8:34 PM EST

Go ahead and laugh, but I think Vermont is on to something.

A bill is pending there to allow its citizens to opt out of driver registration fees - for life - if they agree to donate their organs when they die. At Vermont's rates, drivers would save $480 (depending on how long they live and drive) while another magazine noted that:

that there were 530,000 valid driver's licenses in the state as of 2006. So, there are a lot of available organs – in Vermont alone – to help the nearly 1 million people on transplant waiting lists in the U.S.

While stolen organ-rackets may be an urban legend here, they're not in India and certainly not among China's executed prisoners. While the need is acute generally, African Americans in particular face an severe shortage of donor kidneys, for instance, which largely have to come from other blacks to be compatible. Unfortunately, they have a low donation rate. Until more states try such initiatives, we simply won't know what it takes to raise these rates. Imagine: just a few states could eliminate the need for donor waiting lists!

But now?

Sadly, store clerks are routinely surprised to see that I'm an organ donor when they check my driver's license and look at me like I'm either Mother Theresa or some freak-show, wild-eyed pagan. But initiatives like Vermont's might just get more of us out of our comfort zones and our life-giving hearts out of our dead bodies. We shouldn't have to be paid to do something so easy - though I will greedily accept the discount - yet such an unbelievable blessing to the suffering. But if it will save more lives (and stop the desecration of the Third world's living humans) - small price to pay. And an idea brilliant in its simplicity. Here's hoping the Vermont bill passes and that it's opponents get the pillorying they deserve.

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