Once again the FDA is ignoring science in favor of discrimination, allowing gay men who are celibate for at least a year to donate, while straight men who have unprotected sex can donate without similar restrictions.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released new draft guidance for commentary that includes a recommendation expanding acceptable donors to include for the first time since the late 1970s gay men. The catch: ignoring science, only gay men who have been celibateÂ â€“ abstained from any sexual conductÂ â€“ for at least a year would be eligible to donate blood. If a man who has sex with men has only had sex with women for the past year, he would also be able to donate blood.
Presumably, the FDA is attempting to protect the blood supply from HIV, but since HIV knows no gender or orientation, their logic is flawed.
For example, a five-year married and monogamous gay man who has only had sex with his husband would continue to be banned from donating blood, while a single heterosexual man who has unprotected sex with several different women weekly could have no restrictions on his ability to donate.Â
The issue isn’t with whom a donor has sex, but if it’s protected or unprotected.
“The existing policy, implemented amid the HIV/AIDS epidemic, has been widely criticized by medical and LGBT organizations in recent years as outdated and a scientifically unjustifiable form of discrimination,” Buzzfeed reports. “Existing guidelines have also been used toÂ ban transgender peopleÂ from donating blood, regardless of their gender.”
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin told Buzzfeed “she was ‘encouraged that the FDA is moving forward with guidance’ to lift the lifetime ban, she said a one-year deferral should not be the final goal. ‘This is a first step in ending an outdated policy that is medically and scientifically unwarranted, but it doesnâ€™t go far enough.'”
In 2013, Senator Baldwin, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren were joined by a bipartisan group of 84 of their colleagues in both the Senate and the House, asking the Dept. of Health and Human Services to end the gay blood ban.Â
Last year, 80 Democrats in the House and Senate sent the HHS a similar letter, asking for the gay blood ban to end.Â
In November, an HHS committee recommended the ban be moderated to include the one-year celibacy period.
In December for the first time the FDA recommended the one year change.Â
“While the new policy is a step in the right direction toward an ideal policy that reflects the best scientific research, it still falls far short of a fully acceptable solution because it continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men,” HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said in a statement. “This policy prevents men from donating life-saving blood based solely on their sexual orientation rather than actual risk to the blood supply. It simply cannot be justified in light of current scientific research and updated blood screening technology.”
HRC adds that the “American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and the American Association of Blood Banks have characterized the blood ban as medically and scientifically unwarranted as far back as 2006.”
Ryan James Yezak, theÂ Executive Director and Founder of the National Gay Blood Drive, took a similar position but a more moderate tone.
“WeÂ are pleased to see the FDA has issued the draft guidance & we look forward to organizing the National Gay Blood Drive in conjunction with the implementation of the revised policy,” Yezak said in a statement toÂ The New Civil Rights Movement. “We will continue to encourage the FDA to move toward a deferral based upon individual risk assessment.”
This article has been updated to include the quote from the National Gay Blood Drive.
Image viaÂ Wikimedia
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RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.
Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.
McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.
“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.
Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.
He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.
“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.
Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.
Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.
Questions Swirl Around Herschel Walker as New Report Shows His Georgia Residence Was Rented Out for Over a Decade
Where Herschel Walker lives has been a question since before he officially announced his candidacy as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Numerous reports have looked into claims he lives in Texas and not the Peach State, which some Georgia voters might find problematic, but new reporting exposes what could lead to tax or voting fraud investigations.
Walker’s Georgia home, according to reporting from The Daily Beast‘s Roger Sollenberger, is owned by his wife, who for years has rented it out.
When Walker announced his candidacy, after a strong push from Donald Trump, it “was widely known at the time that the Republican hopeful had been living in Texas for decades, though he has claimed to maintain a residence in Atlanta for ’17 years.’ Less widely known, however, was that Walker’s wife collected tens of thousands of dollars in rental income for that residence, according to his 2021 financial disclosure forms.”
While it is unclear if the home was rented out when Walker officially launched his Senate run, the “house doubled as the Walker campaign’s first official address when he launched his bid in August 2021. Fulton County tax and property records show the home is solely owned by Walker’s wife, Julie Blanchard, who also collected rental income from 2020 and 2021 ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, according to the disclosure—defining the asset as ‘Georgia residence.'”
CNN last week reported that “Republican Herschel Walker is getting a tax break intended only for a primary residence this year on his home in the Dallas, Texas, area, despite running for Senate in Georgia.”
“In Texas, homeowner regulations say you can only take the exemption on your ‘principal residence,'” CNN’s K-File reported. “Walker is listed to get a homestead tax exemption in Texas in 2022, saving the Senate candidate approximately $1,500 and potentially running afoul of both Texas tax rules and some Georgia rules on establishing residency for the purpose of voting or running for office.”
Even after he launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate Walker still filed for the Texas tax exemption.
The complaint alleges “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony in August 2021 when he registered to vote in Georgia,” and “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony when he voted in the 2022 Georgia primary and general elections.” These are allegations and have not been investigated by authorities.
When he announced is candidacy, “Walker’s main GOP rival challenged him to ‘move here, pay taxes here, register and vote in some elections’ before running,” The Journal-Constitution notes. “Warnock’s allies have taken a similar line of attack, framing the Republican as an out-of-state charlatan.”
Trumps Latest Tactic? Attacking Special Counsel’s Sister-in-Law
Donald Trump is going all-in on attacks against the family of special counsel Jack Smith. Instead of mounting a defense for his actions, Trump deployed one of his top tactics: attacking anyone trying to hold him accountable.
One of Trump’s right-wing allies posted a claim that Smith’s sister-in-law, who is allegedly a psychologist and whose patients were “crying” and “sobbing” over Trump’s 2016 election.
“And I’m supposed to get a fair shake from this person, who’s under tremendous pressure from his family, but he is actually worse than they are?” Trump rambled on his personal social media site. “Can Republicans, and fair-minded people, generally, allow this to happen? Jack Smith is nothing less than a hit man for Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder, and Andrew Weissmann. Weaponization. Our Country is in big trouble, a real mess!”
Smith was hired by Trump’s administration to serve as an acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee during Trump’s first year in office, his biography states. During this same time, the new Trump Justice Department was firing most of the U.S. Attorneys hired under President Barack Obama’s administration. One of those biggest names was Preet Bharara, who helped Trump with the transition while serving as the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York. He was fired the same month that Trump hired Smith in 2017.
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