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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Reps. Quigley, Lee, Baldwin Statement on Blood Donor Ban
2016-06-13

This article shared 719 times since Mon Jun 13, 2016
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Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley ( IL-05 ), Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ( HPSCI ), and Barbara Lee ( CA-13 ), along with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin ( D-WI ) released the following statement regarding the tragic mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) blood donation deferral policy for men who have sex with men ( MSM ):

"The resiliency of the American people is always magnified after a tragedy, and we are witnessing that compassion as Floridians rally around the people of Orlando, and the local LGBT community, by lining up to donate much needed blood after Sunday's horrific shooting at Pulse nightclub. However, we find it unacceptable that gay and bisexual men are banned from donating desperately needed blood in response to this tragedy. Blood donations are needed now more than ever, yet gay and bisexual men remain unable to donate blood due to an outdated and discriminatory FDA rule. For years, we have worked through both authorizing and appropriations committees to overturn the FDA's donor referral policy for men who have sex with men. We've made progress; this past year, the FDA reversed a lifetime ban to a 12-month deferral policy. But this revision does not go far enough in ending an outdated policy that is medically and scientifically unwarranted and that perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes. Tragedies like the one we witnessed in the early morning hours on Sunday show how crucial it is for FDA to develop better blood donor policies that are based on science and on individual risk factors; that don't unfairly single out one group of individuals; and that allow all healthy Americans to donate. Given the enormous response by the citizens of Orlando, including members of the LGBT community, to donate blood to help heal their community, the FDA should lift this prejudicial ban once and for all."

In December 2015, the Food and Drug Administration issued updated guidance for industry on blood donations for MSM, rolling back a lifetime ban to a one-year deferral from last sexual contact with another man.


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