U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and Katie Porter (CA-45) today reintroduced the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act, which will prohibit using an individual’s mental or physical disability as the sole basis of determining their eligibility for an organ transplant.
The bill, named after Charlotte Woodward, an advocate fighting against discrimination who has Down syndrome and received a heart transplant in 2012, clarifies that doctors, hospitals, transplant centers and other health care providers are prohibited from denying access to organ transplants solely based on a qualified individual’s disability.
“If an individual needs access to a life-saving organ transplant, they shouldn’t be denied based on their disability – either physical or mental,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m proud to reintroduce this important legislation today named after Charlotte Woodward, a relentless advocate against discrimination who has Down syndrome, to help ensure people with disabilities receive the same treatment and access to life-saving organ transplants.”
“A patient’s disability status shouldn’t stop them from getting the care they need, including a lifesaving organ transplant,” Porter said. “I’m proud to renew my push with Congresswoman Herrera Beutler to prevent discrimination against Americans with disabilities in getting necessary transplants. Discrimination has no place in our healthcare system.”
“As one of the very few people in the world with Down syndrome who has had the opportunity to receive a lifesaving heart transplant, I am so very, very grateful that people with disabilities will have the same opportunity as I in the future,” Charlotte Woodward said.“In the past, too many precious lives were lost due to discrimination in organ transplantation. I am so very, very thankful for the generosity of my heart donor and that of her loving family. Her gift has allowed me to live my life to the fullest and to go on to advocate for others to be able to do the same. The passage of this bill will be a monumental step towards a more just world, and I am proud to play a part in it.”
Herrera Beutler and Porter previously introduced this legislation in the 116th Congress.