BAY SPRINGS, miss. (WDAM) – As of 2019, 17 states have passed laws prohibiting medical professionals from using mental or developmental disabilities as a factor in determining whether a person will receive an organ transplant.
Mississippi Rep. Lee Yancey is leading efforts to add Mississippi to this list. He said that people with disabilities have been discriminated against by medical professionals who determine which of their patients can have a transplant, which is why he drafted House Bill 191, also known as Cole’s Law.
“Coles Law is basically saying that a person with a disability in need of an organ transplant cannot discriminate against the person with a disability simply because of their disability,” Yancey said.
The bill was first presented to the House in 2020 and he said it was passed almost unanimously, but the Senate did not do so well.
“The Senate didn’t even pick it up,” Yancey said. “Then in 2021, COVID had struck.”
Although the past two years haven’t been good for the bill, Yancey is still hopeful.
“I think 2022 will be the year we say goodbye,” said Yancey.
He’s not the only one who believes that.
Cara Sims is actually the one who came up with the idea to Yancey because her son Cole has Down syndrome.
“Usually when someone needs an organ transplant, they need it quickly, and waiting for a decision to go to court could be life-threatening for that person,” said Sims.
She said she was doing this because people with disabilities should be treated equally.
“Disability rights are human rights and we are not asking for preferential treatment or more rights. We just want equal rights, ”said Sims.
Cara also said if you want to help in the fight, call your lawmakers and tell them to support the law.
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