Statement on Signing the National Organ Transplant Act

October 19, 1984

Today I am signing into law S. 2048, the National Organ Transplant Act. This legislation covers an area in which I have been personally involved: promoting the donation of organs, especially liver transplants for children. I am pleased that the Congress worked with the administration to produce a bill that will enhance this effort.

This bipartisan legislation provides a framework that should help increase the overall supply of much needed organs and improve our ability to match donor organs with individuals in need of transplants. Over the last 3 years, I have urged the American people to remember that many lives could be saved through generous donations of life-saving organs. I have been encouraged by the response of the media and the public to this compassionate cause. This act will serve to support this ongoing work.

A 25-member task force is created by the act to examine and report on a wide range of important issues in the field of organ transplantation. The task force will also report on medical and economic issues related to immunosuppressive drugs, which are used to prevent organ rejection.

Also, the Government will provide support for the establishment of an Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network in the private sector to maintain a national registry that will be used to match available organs with people who need them.

I believe that this act strikes a proper balance between private and public sector efforts to promote organ transplantation, which should encourage families with loved ones who are awaiting a suitable organ. I am pleased to sign the National Organ Transplant Act that will support this humanitarian effort.

Note: As enacted, S. 2048 is Public Law 98 - 507, approved October 19.