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Mother, lawmaker pushing to pass bill to ban organ transplant discrimination in Miss.

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 9:00 PM CDT
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BAY SPRINGS, Miss. (WDAM) - Since 2019, 17 states have passed laws prohibiting medical professionals from using intellectual or developmental disabilities as a factor in determining if a person gets an organ transplant.

Mississippi Rep. Lee Yancey is leading the effort to get Mississippi on that list. He said people with disabilities have been discriminated against by medical professionals who determine which of their patients can get transplants, which is why he authored House Bill 191, also known as “Cole’s Law.”

“Coles Law basically says that if a person has a disability and they need an organ transplant, they 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 passed almost unanimously, but things did not go so well in the Senate.

“The Senate did not even take it up,” Yancey said. “Then in 2021, COVID had hit.”

Although these past two years have not been good for the bill, Yancey is still hopeful.

“I think that 2022 will be the year we get it passed,” Yancey said.

He’s not the only one who believes that.

Cara Sims is actually the one who presented the idea to Yancey because her son Cole has Down syndrome.

“Once someone needs a organ transplant, usually they need it quickly, and waiting until it goes through the courts until a decision is made could be life threatening for that person,” Sims said.

She said she is doing this because people with disabilities should be treated equally.

“Disability rights are human rights, and we’re not asking to receive preferential treatment or have more rights. We just want equal rights,” Sims said.

Cara also said if you’d like to help in the fight, call your lawmakers and tell them to support the bill.

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