WH: No plans to reverse blood donation ban for gay men

WH: No plans to reverse blood donation ban for gay men
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The White House said Tuesday it has no plans to lift restrictions on gay men who want to donate blood in the wake of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. 

Demand for donations spiked following the Sunday massacre, which killed 49 people and injured 53 more. 

People lined up for blocks to give blood in the central Florida city, but some potential donors were turned away because of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirement that gay men remain celibate for one year before being cleared to donation blood. 

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Democrats and gay rights groups have renewed pressure on the administration to repeal the policy but have yet to see action. 

“We’re going to rely on scientific advice,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s going to be rooted in the advice we’re getting from scientists at the FDA.”

Opponents of the policy have seen some success. Last December, the FDA said it would roll back its previous lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men, instead instituting the one-year waiting period. 

“We will continue to actively conduct research in this area and further revise our policies as new data emerge,” FDA official Peter Marks said at the time.

But many LGBT groups have sharply condemned the new policy as a “de facto” ban.