Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men
More than a a dozen Democratic senators signed a letter Thursday urging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn to ease restrictions on blood donations by on men who have recently had sex with men, as the coronavirus outbreak has led to a dire shortage of blood.
The current rule, which the senators describe as “discriminatory” in their letter, prohibits men who who have had sex with other men in the past 12 months from donating.
“With important advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based deferral policy is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude many healthy gay and bisexual men, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment,” the senators wrote.
COVID-19 has created a blood shortage and we must increase our nation’s supply based on science & facts. @US_FDA should not prevent healthy gay & bisexual men from helping to solve our shortage. FDA should change discriminatory blood donation policies to help save lives. pic.twitter.com/iY0ZNoM0By
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) March 26, 2020
Continuing, the group added: “It is imperative that we move away from discriminatory donor deferral policies that prohibit many healthy individuals from contributing much-needed blood and blood products.”
The Senators cited in their letter that the American Association of Blood Banks has predicted “355,000 fewer blood donations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Last week, Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on Gen Z and Millennials to donate blood, saying that “one donation can save up to three lives.”
Among the signees of the letter were Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).