House Judiciary Committee Moves on Sabatina’s “Paul’s Law”

House Judiciary Committee Moves on Sabatina’s “Paul’s Law”

Harrisburg, March 14, 2018 – Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) said that he was encouraged that his “Paul’s Law legislation was approved by the state House Judiciary Committee and that it is one step closer to becoming law.  

“Paul’s Law would ensure that those with disabilities are treated fairly and respectfully, not discriminated against during the transplant process,” said Sabatina. “I am proud to see that this anti-discrimination legislation is moving closer to a floor vote in the House.”

Sabatina re-introduced the legislation last year after learning the story of Paul Corby, a young man from Pottsville who was denied a life preserving heart transplant in 2011 due to his Autism Spectrum Disorder.

While there is a recognized set of standards for transplant candidacy nationally, some medical institutions consider additional criteria relating to mental, developmental, and physical disability when examining a candidate for a transplant.

“Paul’s story really resonated with me,” Sabatina said. “I am urging my colleagues to join me in making sure that families are not faced with similar stories of discrimination and are able to receive the best medical treatment for their loved ones.”

States are starting to take notice of this unfair treatment, specifically in California and New Jersey where laws to end this kind of medical discrimination have also been proposed.

Sabatina noted that it is extremely unfortunate that patients with disabilities have not always received equal treatment opportunities.  His hope is that this legislation will finally eliminate these highly subjective factors from influencing medical treatment options.

Sabatina’s legislation (Senate Bill 108) was approved by the Senate unanimously last May.

-30-

House Judiciary Committee Moves on Sabatina’s “Paul’s Law”

Sabatina, The Arc Lead Rally Calling for End of Discrimination of Organ Transplant Patients

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.”

###

Sabatina’s ‘Paul’s Law’ Passes Senate Unanimously

Sabatina’s ‘Paul’s Law’ Passes Senate Unanimously

HARRISBURG, May 22, 2017 – State Sen. John Sabatina’s legislation to protect critical health services for individuals with special needs was unanimously approved in the Pennsylvania Senate today.

Senate Bill 108, “Paul’s Law,” would prohibit organ transplant organizations from discriminating against patients on the basis of physical, developmental or mental disability.

“There is a set of national standards for transplant candidacy, but some institutions consider other criteria, such as mental, developmental, and physical disabilities. This practice of denying patients of critical care because of subjective factors is inhumane and unacceptable,” said Sabatina (D-Philadelphia). “My legislation will end this discriminatory practice and ensure that patients have equal rights when being considered for a lifesaving transplant.”

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.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

###

 

Sabatina’s ‘Paul’s Law’ Gets Unanimous Approval in Senate Committee

HARRISBURG, March 29, 2017 – State Sen. John Sabatina’s legislation to protect critical health services for individuals with special needs was unanimously approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

Senate Bill 108, “Paul’s Law,” would prohibit organ transplant organizations from discriminating against patients on the basis of physical, developmental or mental disability.

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.

“Right now, there is a set of national standards for transplant candidacy, but some institutions consider other criteria, such as mental, developmental, and physical disabilities. This type of discrimination is inhumane and unacceptable,” Sabatina said. “My legislation will end highly subjective factors from influencing clinical decision-making.

“It’s one more step toward ensuring equal rights for individuals with special needs.”

The legislation now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

###

Noted NJ Advocates Back Sabatina Transplant Bill

PHILADELPHIA, July 31, 2015 – As the U.S. marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the family behind New Jersey’s landmark “Amelia’s Law,” joined state Sen. John Sabatina today in his effort to pass similar legislation in Pennsylvania.

“After 25 years we still have work to do in recognizing people with disabilities as having equal rights and equal opportunity,” Sabatina said. “Our laws have changed. Our society has changed, but this young girl and her family are proof that the need for change remains constant.”

 

Amelia Rivera, the inspiration behind New Jersey’s “Amelia’s Law,” received a kidney transplant two years ago after being initially denied the operation because of her intellectual disability.  An on-line petition started by her mother, Chrissy, eventually convinced doctors to change their decision about the transplant and prompted the passage of legislation in New Jersey ending discrimination by disability in the transplant system.

At a news conference at SpArc of Philadelphia today, Chrissy Rivera spoke about her ordeal and the way public support sparked the change that saved her daughter. 

Sabatina, a former member of the state House of Representatives, has introduced legislation in both the Senate and the House that would ban discrimination in Pennsylvania’s transplant system on the basis of disability.

“We can’t let the right to life be dictated by circumstances beyond an individual’s control,” Sabatina said. “It is enshrined in our founding documents that we have an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   That’s what my legislation intends to enforce.”

Sabatina’s bills have been dubbed “Paul’s Law, inspired by Paul Corby, a 24-year-old autistic patient from Pottsville, Pa., who was denied a life-preserving heart transplant by the University of Pennsylvania hospital in 2011.

As a member of the House, Sabatina drafted House Bill 585, which would prohibit organ transplant organizations from discriminating on the basis of physical or mental disability. Sabatina was sworn-in as a freshman Senator in June and promptly began work on similar legislation in the Senate (Senate Bill 902).

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, the author of Amelia’s Law, offered encouragement for the Pennsylvania effort.

“I want to praise Senator Sabatina and all the advocates in Pennsylvania for their efforts on this issue,” he said. “People with developmental disabilities should not be treated as second-class citizens and they certainly should not be denied transplants that can save their lives or improve their quality of life.

Supporters attending the news conference included state Rep. Tom Murt and Sabra Townsend of the ARC of Philadelphia.  Julia Bascom, of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, participated by Skype.

###