Ally Bain is in her twenties now, but when she was 14, a humiliating experience prompted her mom to push for passing Ally’s Law in Illinois- also known as The Restroom Access Act. While shopping at a popular clothing store, Ally, who had been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, needed to suddenly use the restroom. This chronic illness affects the digestive system and when it flares up, a restroom is needed within minutes. Despite explaining the medical conditions, Ally was denied access to the employee’s restroom and suffered an embarrassing accident.
Since then, at least 14 states have passed versions of Ally’s Law. The law requires retail establishments that have employee restrooms to allow customers to use the facilities if they suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other medical conditions (some include pregnancy) requiring immediate access to a toilet.
Generally, customers can present a document signed by a medical provider attesting to their need for immediate access to a restroom. Another option is securing a card through the Foundation for Clinical Research in IBD. This Medical Alert Restroom Access Pass helps those affected by Crohn’s and colitis around the nation. The card is available on the organization’s site at http://www.mountsinai.org/ibd-center, and reads:
“The holder of this card has Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Colitis is painful and requires immediate access to a toilet facility. This patient cannot physically ‘hold it’. Please make your restroom available.”
While Utah has not yet passed such a law, this card may be persuasive if you find yourself in a situation without much time to explain. If you’re interested in pursuing Ally’s Law, speak with your local representative; you can find them by visiting this site:
If you or someone you know may have IBD, call (801) 619-9000 or visit this link to schedule an appointment. Granite Peaks Gastroenterology physicians are welcoming new patients, and are able to see patients within one week. Also, you don’t need a physician referral to be seen!