Monday, 24 October 2011 23:01

Obama Honored Janice Langbehn With A Presidential Citizens Medal

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President Obama gave one of the 13 Presidential Citizens Medal to Janice Langbehn, a woman who, despite having an advanced healthcare directive, was kept from visiting her dying partner.

The New York Times had told her story besides: "Pond ... collapsed with an aneurysm during a Florida vacation and was taken to a Miami trauma center. She died there, at age 39, as Ms. Langbehn tried in vain to persuade hospital officials to let her visit, along with the couple's adopted children."

She was recognized by President Obama for "transform[ing] her own profound loss into a resounding call for compassion and equality."

The rules were changed and from now on this law which prohibited the vists to the partners is not any more.

"As a father and husband, I can't begin to imagine the grief that they must have felt in that moment -- their anger and their sense that the world was not fair. But they refused to let that anger define them," the president said. "They each became, in Janice's words, an 'accidental activist.' And thanks to their work, there are parents and partners who will never have to go through what they went through."

In an official statement published by HRC, Langbehn said: "It is a great honor to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal. It is my hope that my family's loss, this medal, and the attention it brings to the discrimination our families have faced during the most difficult moments, will help ease suffering and ensure that no family has to go through what my family went through."