In the wake of the Orlando massacre on a gay nightclub last weekend in which 49 people died, Democrats in Congress are reviving a push to reverse the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decades-old rule banning men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood.
Today, June 14 is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Blood Donor Day.
The massacre early last Sunday morning drove up local demand for blood donations.
According to The Hill, after the Red Cross put out a call for blood donations, a rumor spread that one local blood bank was temporarily easing the FDA rules to allow MSM to donate. The organization OneBlood refuted the rumors, intensifying outrage in the LGBT community.
Condemned by the American Medical Association, the FDA policy has sparked outrage that advocates now hope to convert into long-awaited action.
— SpryBit (@SpryBit) June 14, 2016
Last December, the FDA announced it would partially roll back the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men if they have refrained from having sex with another man for at least 12 months. The 12-month waiting period also applies to women who have had sex with men who have sex with other men.
Jared Polis (D-Colorado) of the LGBT Equality Caucus is now calling for a repeal of the ban which he described as morally bankrupt and “contrary to the goal of public health.”
The push for change has wide support among Democrats including Bernie Sanders, Charles Schumer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Elizabeth Warren who is considered a vice presidential contender for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
For a healthy person, blood donation is absolutely no loss but for a sickly and feeble, it’s a hope of life. https://t.co/eT9ETtrPfy
— Lokman Singh Karki (@LokmanKarki) June 14, 2016
Watch a WHO World Blood Donor Day campaign video below.