• Source: Wikimedia
  • Gay Blood Ban: FDA Committee Meets Today To Consider Amending Discriminatory Restrictions

    An FDA Committee today will consider softening the nation's ban on gay men giving blood. But is it enough?

    Since 1977 the nation has banned gay men from donating blood, despite the fact that lifting the ban could "help save the lives of more than 1.8 million people," according to a Williams Institute study.

    Last month, the FDA took the first step in removing – or at least, modifying – the ban, when the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood & Tissue Safety & Availability voted to drop the ban for any man who have not had sex with another man in at least a year. 

    Today, a committee will meet again to consider that proposal.

    LOOK: Lifting Anti-Gay Blood Ban Could Save Nearly 2 Million Lives

    The American Red Cross, the American Association of Blood Banks, and America’s Blood Centers, in a joint statement last month agreed the recommendation is "consistent" with their position.

    "A study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that if gay men were allowed to donate blood like other members of the public, 360,600 men would come forward to give blood, adding an extra 615,300 pints of blood available for infusions every year. But those numbers drop dramatically under the one-year abstinence requirement, slipping to 185,800 new donors and just 317,000 pints of blood," Mother Jones reports today.

    "The policies that are in place, the lifetime ban, perpetuates negative stereotypes and stigma," says Ryan James Yezak, founder of the National Gay Blood Drive. "It assumes that all gay and bisexual men are likely to have HIV and therefore must be blanket banned. And that's just not necessary in this day and age when they have the testing and other countries have moved to deferral time period."

    But Yezak, MJ suggests, is willing to support this move as a good first step.

    The anti-gay right disagrees.

    The American Family Association last week turned to anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, who, veteran LGBT author, blogger and activist Alvin McEwen notes, "has no background in medicine."

    "First of all, HIV rates and sexually transmitted diseases are rising among homosexual-practicing men," LaBarbera told AFA's One News Now. "So why would we be talking about softening the blood ban at a time when [STDs] are on the rise among men who have sex with men?"

    But the ACLU notes the "proposed one-year deferral will prevent two men who maintain a committed, monogamous relationship from ever donating blood. This proposed policy does not distinguish between high risk and safer sex practices... Criteria for being a blood donor should be based on science, not discriminatory stereotypes and assumptions.”

    Or anti-gay fear-mongering.


    Image via Wikimedia

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    • commented 2014-12-02 13:32:33 -0500
      The current deferment/ban system is rather excessive, for both sexes (purely biological connotations here, not referencing gender). Sadly, yes, there are reasons to ban people from donating blood. Being HIV positive, in today’s environment, would be one of them due to the limits of medical technology. Having gay sex as a man should not. Even the deferment is excessive, at least in duration. Three months should more than suffice, given the known windows for the blood test.

    • commented 2014-12-02 11:16:57 -0500
      Sadly America has exported its own version of animus towards homosexuals, the version of Scott Lively and his ilk. We have to accept responsibility to the world for allowing this desperate attempt by the Squirrel Nut Jobz. It is beyond reasoning to think that in our nation there are supposed Christians that hate without any experience of the opposite.

      We cannot stop these people from hating but what we can do, is to become a nation where people of differing sexuality are welcomed by those who are enlightened and open to being a responsible and loving people.

    • commented 2014-12-02 10:34:34 -0500
      I stopped donating when the ban went into effect and I will not donate until the ban is fully lifted. It was BS then and is BS now.

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