Gov. Patrick Signs 'Restroom Access Bill'08:02

This article is more than 8 years old.

It happens to all of us: You're at the post office, or in the grocery store, and all of a sudden, you need to use the restroom. But with no public restroom in sight, you ask an employee as politely as you can to use the staff bathroom. More often than not, you get turned away.

Now, for most of us, this is an uncomfortable, but manageable, inconvenience. But for people living with an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's or Colitis, these experiences can be the source of anxiety and embarrassment. Approximately 1.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, and about 10 percent of IBD sufferers are under 18.

But, a new law signed recently by Gov. Deval Patrick offers some relief for them: the "Restroom Access Bill."


  • Rachel Zimmerman, co-host of WBUR's CommonHealth blog
  • Jonathan Rutley, an attorney whose daughter suffers from ulcerative colitis

This segment aired on August 14, 2012.