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Georgia bill to end discrimination against disabled transplant recipients

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Georgia bill to end discrimination against disabled transplant recipients

Friday, March 6, 2020

News 12 at 6 p.m./NBC at 7 p.m

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – A local family is fighting for a bill that would end discrimination against disabled organ transplant recipients.

Washington County resident Gracie Nobles, who is almost a year old, loves hugs and kisses, according to her parents Erin and David.

“I wouldn’t change a thing about her, nothing about her journey,” Erin said.

Erin and David Nobles learned their little girl was diagnosed with Down syndrome. They also learned that she had a hole in the middle of her heart.

Doctors at Children's Hospital of Georgia were able to repair Gracie's heart, saving her from a transplant. They learned that a transplant would have involved an uphill battle to get listed.

“I couldn't imagine taking Gracie home and just telling them to go home and enjoy the rest of the days with her because she wasn't eligible for a transplant; however, that is the message families are receiving,” said David Nobles.

While the Americans with Disabilities Act denies discrimination based on disability, there is a lack of federal enforcement of the law.

For some families, spending time fighting for federal attention isn't an option. That's why Erin and David fight for Gracie's law.

Gracie's Law, or Georgia House Bill 842, prohibits providers from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients based solely on the recipient's physical or mental disability.

“This is just something where we saw that a change was needed and Gracie was the perfect fit for us. Literally,” said David Nobles. “Just ten months ago she was lying unconscious on the ventilator. Now here she is, a lively, lively little child, and she wants a law in her name.”

The Gracie Law will make families a priority in combating discrimination at the local level. Twelve states have already passed laws like Gracie's Law.

Georgia House Bill 842 just passed the House unanimously. The bill now goes to the Senate.

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