Congress To Review Ban Gay Men Blood Donation

Four Members Of Congress Push FDA To Change Their Policy

WASHINGTON–  According to The Hill, Congress is making a move to allow gay men to donate blood for the first time since 1983. The effort is being led by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), the vice chair of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, and he is pushing the issue by penning a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf urging him to strike down the rule they have long called outdated and discriminatory.

Quigley has the backing of three other supporters, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). All four are calling for the end of the ban after the terrorist attack on the popular gay bar Pulse, early Sunday morning.

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They plan to hold a press conference Tuesday morning outside the Capitol. They will also be pushing the issue to Democratic leaders over the next week as Congress grapples with a response to the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Leading gay rights advocates in Congress plan to ask the White House to end a decades-old policy that prohibits many gay men from donating blood in the wake of the deadly Orlando, Fla., shooting at a gay nightclub.

Lawmakers have faced mounting pressure from LGBT rights advocates after a shooter at the gay nightclub Pulse in Florida early Sunday morning killed 49 and wounded more than 50, including about half a dozen who are listed as being in “grave” condition, according to hospital authorities.

The Obama administration has already partially rolled back the 1983 ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, which was enacted because they were considered at higher risk of contracting HIV.

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The FDA announced in December that it would now allow gay men to donate blood, but only if they have been celibate for a year. Under previous rules, men who have had sex with men were banned from donating indefinitely.

Quigley and other opponents of the ban blasted the FDA’s move, which they said left in place a “de facto” ban.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.