The Certificate of Religious Belief
One of the biggest concerns we have in cryonics stems from the realization that, in some situations, a coroner or medical examiner might require (or request) that an autopsy be performed on a patient before Alcor takes control of the member's body. Most states give coroners or medical examiners wide authority to conduct autopsies and frequently require them to do so.
Younger members are particularly at risk of autopsy if they need suspension, since death at a young age is most likely to be the result of an accident, homicide, or sudden unexplained illness.
Fortunately, some state legislators have moved toward restricting the power of the state to demand an autopsy. One statute which has been passed in at least five states (California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio) is the "Religious Objection to Autopsy." Simply, it gives people the right to prevent autopsy of their remains in most circumstances by signing a certificate declaring that autopsy is contrary to their "religious belief." (A person completing such a form is not required to state what his/her religion is.)
In states that have passed a religious objection law, this form may be the most effective way to prevent autopsies and to limit the scope of those which are performed. It has been reported that this law has prevented autopsies on two California cryonicists (not members of Alcor).
If you are a resident of one of these states, or even spend a significant amount of time in one of them, we strongly urge you to execute the certificate immediately. It could make all the difference for you.
Sign, date, and print your name on each of three originals. Have all three of them witnessed on the same date by two people who are neither relatives nor health care providers of any kind. Return two originals to Alcor for your membership file. Keep one original for your personal files. (Provide copies to your physician, next of kin, medical surrogate, etc. as needed.)