This month, Maryland became the first state in the United States to enact the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s model law banning disability-based discrimination in organ transplantation. Maryland will be the third state to have an organ transplant anti-discrimination law, joining New Jersey and California.
This victory is the result of years of hard work here at ASAN. It started with our policy brief on discrimination in organ transplants. Our research, described in the brief, found that people with significant developmental disabilities are routinely denied life-saving organ transplants for no reason other than their disability.
In 2014, I wrote a model law against disability-based discrimination in organ transplants and published it in our comprehensive toolkit on organ transplant discrimination. I hoped that state advocates would be able to bring our model law to their state legislators and ask them to enact it.
This month, with help from the Arc of Maryland and the Maryland Disability Law Center, the Maryland legislature voted unanimously to pass that law. Our law.
Once it’s signed by the governor, the law we wrote will become the law of the land in Maryland – protecting not only thousands of Marylanders with disabilities but also out-of-state patients who seek help from major transplant centers like the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. Already, major transplant centers like the University of Maryland have removed language from their web sites saying that they would not perform transplants for anyone with a “severe” developmental or psychiatric disability, regardless of medical need.
And we won’t stop there: we are working already on getting organ anti-discrimination laws passed in other states, including Pennsylvania!
If you’re as excited as we are about this victory, please consider making a contribution to support ASAN’s important work and help advance the cause of disability rights. Your support makes what we do possible.
Thank you for your support. As always, Nothing About Us, Without Us!
Samantha Crane, J.D.
Legal Director, Director of Public Policy
Autistic Self Advocacy Network