Lawmakers call for changes to blood donation rules

A longstanding FDA rule is back on the radar in light of the tragedy at Pulse nightclub and many are outraged. Blood banks are not allowed to accept donated blood from sexually active gay men and now lawmakers want to change that. 
 
After the shooting in Orlando thousands of citizens answered the call to give blood with lines wrapped around blood banks across town. However many donors were turned away under current FDA guidelines.
 
The current policy use to enforce a lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, but as recently as December, that lifetime ban has changed to a 1 year deferral which means a gay man would have to remain abstinent for 1 year in order to donate. 
 
Congressman Alan Grayson urged the FDA to do away with the law altogether and said he is introducing a bill that would grant blood banks more advanced testing of HIV that would end the old policy. 
 
"We can't say that we have first-class citizens and second-class citizens," Grayson said. "We can't say some people can give blood and other people can't based upon their sexual orientation or anything like that. That experience illuminated for all of us in Orlando the importance from social standpoint  of ending discrimination."

 

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