Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday signed a measure that will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to become organ and tissue donors.
Teens age 16 or 17 will be able to join the First Person Consent Organ and Tissue donor registry when they receive their driver’s licenses or state ID cards. Parents and guardians, however, will still have the right to give or revoke consent until the donor turns 18.
“This is what makes Illinois such a wonderful place, people coming together to help each other in a time of need,” Rauner said.
The governor stood alongside Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, medical professionals, lawmakers and family members of organ donors at the University of Chicago on Tuesday morning.
White said there are 6.2 million Illinois residents registered to be organ donors, but there are 4,700 on a wait list.
White said Illinois is ranked third when it comes to organ donations in the U.S., with the expansion expected to increase donations.
Among those speaking of the importance of organ donation was Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park), whose husband is waiting for an organ donation.
“We have found a live donor. And so we are in a good position waiting for that day to come. But there are 300 people a year in Illinois that die just waiting for a kidney,” Conroy said. “And I understand that this bill is going to save many, many lives.”
Illinois is now the 48th state to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to register as organ donors.