HARRISBURG, October 16, 2017 – State Sen. John Sabatina and The Arc of Pennsylvania today urged movement on Sabatina’s “Paul’s Law” legislation to protect critical health services for individuals with special needs.
Sabatina and The Arc hosted a Capitol rally today to bring attention to Senate Bill 108, “Paul’s Law,” which would prohibit organ transplant organizations from discriminating against patients on the basis of physical, developmental or mental disability.
The measure, which Sabatina has introduced for the past four legislative sessions as a state senator and representative, passed the Senate unanimously in May and is currently in the House of Representatives awaiting consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.
While there is a set of national standards for transplant candidacy, some institutions consider other criteria, such as mental, developmental, and physical disabilities, Sabatina said.
“This practice of denying patients critical care because of subjective factors is inhumane and unacceptable. ‘Paul’s Law’ would save lives and provide one more step toward ensuring equal rights for individuals with special needs,” said Sabatina (D-Philadelphia). “I’m pleased that ‘Paul’s Law’ received unanimous support in the Senate and I urge my colleagues in the House to consider this critical legislation. The new law would end discriminatory practices and ensure that patients have equal rights when being considered for a lifesaving transplant.”
“As a father of a child with disabilities, it is incomprehensible to me that she could be denied a lifesaving organ transplant because she has an unrelated disability,” said Mike Marsh, president of The Arc of Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvania must do better to promote the health of all citizens in the commonwealth, including individuals with disabilities. The Arc of Pennsylvania fully supports Senator Sabatina and his legislation that will end discrimination against individuals with disabilities who need an organ transplant.”
“Since The Arc of Pennsylvania’s inception 68 years ago, we’ve been promoting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Maureen Cronin, executive director of The Arc of Pennsylvania. “We firmly believe that children and adults with disabilities deserve the same opportunities as those without disabilities. It is simply unjust to deny an organ transplant based on disability. It sends a horrible message about the value of that person’s life who happens to have disabilities. The Arc of Pennsylvania is grateful to Senator Sabatina for his leadership in promoting this key legislation. We ask the General Assembly to pass this legislation to help save the lives of people with disabilities who need these life-saving transplants.”
The legislation was inspired by Paul Corby of Pottsville. Corby, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, was denied a life-preserving heart transplant by the University of Pennsylvania hospital in 2011.
Paul’s mother Karen Corby could not attend the rally but provided a statement.
“Team Paul really appreciates everything Senator Sabatina and all those involved are doing to get his law passed,” she said. “We believe that a law that will possibly save lives should be a no-brainer in the eyes of the lawmakers.”