For those with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, going out in public can be dicey. A horrible cramp can suddenly cause anxiety as you realize you have to find a restroom quickly and a lot of retailers will only let employees use their bathroom. A new law in Delaware is here to help and several other states are considering action as well.
Almost everyone has a story of a time whey they, or the person they were with, were suddenly hit with unmistakable signs of….well, let’s just say…gastric distress. Horrified, you probably stopped everything immediately to find the nearest restroom. You never considered that anyone with a heart would not allow you to take care of urgent business.
That is exactly the scene 16 year-old Morgan Burnett found herself in when she was shopping with her mom in Delaware. Morgan has Crohn’s Disease, a chronic gastrointestinal condition that is known to cause everything from diarrhea and bleeding to constipation. It can also lead to intense pain when she has a flare up. She was shopping at Plato’s Closet when the urge to go hit her. When she asked to use the store’s restroom, she was distraught when they denied her saying that the restroom was for employees only. She and her mother had to flee the store immediately to find a useable restroom. Morgan’s mom has said that the family cannot go anywhere in public without knowing if there is a restroom available because they never know when something like this will happen.
State Card Issued for Those with Medical Digestive Issues
Since this and other incidents, Morgan has successfully lobbied Delaware to pass legislation for those in her situation. This will make sure that anyone who suffers from an inflammatory bowel disease will be able to use any restroom when out in public. This law will let people with these diseases get a card from their doctor confirming their diagnosis. This card will enable them to use employee restrooms (or any other public restroom).
Some small shop owners are complaining about the law saying it is an undue hardship on them. The only real hardship that I can see is that, generally speaking, the condition of the bathroom after such an episode can be unpleasant. I’ll give them that one. Otherwise, these shops have a restroom and they are limiting who can use it. The only expense I can see is more water, toilet paper, and soap usage. But this is almost nothing and I’m sure anyone in this situation would be more than happy to pay a small fee to offset the expense to the owners.
Similar Laws in Other States
Right now, there are sixteen states that have similar laws to the one in Delaware, including Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington. Maryland is by far the most progressive. There, people can register online, print the paperwork for their doctor to sign, and then have the card ready to use. Delaware Representative Trey Paradee hopes the future sees something like that in place for his constituents.
Three Ways This Law Will Improve Life for Those Who Are “Stricken”:
- Now shopping won’t end up like an experience as seen on FX’s Louie
- You can shop without the lingering anxiety of “what if”
- Less embarrassment and more dignity as you can take care of business as you should.