Berlin (dpa) – After heated debate, German lawmakers voted on Thursday against a bill that would have automatically made every citizen an organ donor unless they revoked their consent, opting instead for more moderate legislation.
The opt-out bill, backed by Health Minister Jens Spahn, was rejected by 379 votes to 292, with three abstentions.
In a second vote, lawmakers voted by 432 to 200 for legislation that would prompt citizens regularly on whether they wish to donate their organs. There were 37 abstentions.
That legislation, backed by Annalena Baerbock, co-leader of the Greens, and Katja Kipping, chairwoman of Die Linke (The Left), requires all Germans to voice their stance on the issue at least once every 10 years when they collect their identity documents.
Members of the Bundestag parliament were allowed to vote on their own personal conscience rather than along party lines.
Both initiatives aimed to increase the number of donors, given that around 9,000 patients are currently waiting for organs in Germany.
Doctors are currently allowed to remove organs from the deceased only if they have expressly given permission before death.