As you know, individuals with Down syndrome and others in the differently-abled community face discrimination on lists to receive an organ transplant. Despite federal protections, people with disabilities don’t receive equal opportunities for these transplants. We want to enforce their rights. 

The National Down Syndrome Society is currently advocating to pass legislation on every level to confirm that individuals in the differently-abled community are qualified as organ transplant applicants.  

On the national level, The Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act, which was introduced by Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Katie Porter (D-CA). This act will make sure that a person’s ability to comply with post-transplant requirements will not be a reason to deny a transplant procedure. This bill would also require health care providers make the policies, procedures and practices available to the differentlyabled without regard to their disabilities.  

The reason this bill is named the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act is due to my colleague, an individual with Down syndrome and a self-advocate. Nine years ago she received a lifesaving heart transplant. She advocates for others in our Down syndrome community as well as people with other disabilities to also have the same rights that she had. I am very glad to say that Charlotte is my friend. We still need action to get this state legislation passed. There are a number of states that still lack the enforcement to prohibit this particular discrimination.