CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the “Drive for Life” bill into law Tuesday, which gives 16 and 17-year-olds the ability to sign up to become organ donors.
Gov. Rauner insisted that the bill is not taking away parental rights, and added that they still have the final say until their child turns 18.
The bill signing was at the University of Chicago.
“Organ transplantation has had many of its important origins and milestones at the University of Chicago,” said Dr. Kenneth Polonsky, who is the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs.
Kevin Cmunt, president of Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, said he thinks the bill is going to allow families to make decisions early. “How difficult it is to make a decision about donating a loved one’s organs in the moment when you just found out that they’re no longer going to be with you.”
Families who have donated were also in attendance, including the 16-year-old son of an organ donor.
“When somebody dies, it’s done,” he said. “Recently, we got to meet the man with our father’s heart and the man with our father’s lungs.”
Rauner said he encourages everyone who’s possibly comfortable to sign up.
Gift of Hope said this will put Illinois at the forefront of organ donation.