Is Access To An Organ Transplant A Right?

Aug 3, 2015

State Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) believes the Americans with Disabilities Act has greatly improved access to the physical world and employment for those with special needs since its passage 25 years ago, but says it has fallen short when it comes to protecting life.

Individuals with mental or physical disabilities are often denied the opportunity to be listed on organ transplant lists because of their disability, he said. Sabatina introduced legislation to change that as a House member in February, and said he intends to file a similar measure as a freshman member of the Senate.

“It puts them on even keel with the rest of us,” he said. 

The measure has been dubbed “Paul’s Law” in honor of 24-year-old Paul Corby of Pottsville. Corby suffers from a heart condition that would normally make him eligible for a transplant, but thus far, he's been denied because he is also on the autism spectrum, Sabatina said.

“We can’t let the right to life be dictated by circumstances beyond an individual’s control,” he said. “It is enshrined in our founding documents that we have an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   That’s what my legislation intends to enforce.”

House Bill 585 has been stalled in committee for months.