HRC Blog

HHS Committee Meets Today to Review Ban on Gay and Bisexual Blood Donors

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability begins a two-day meeting to review the scientific rationale for and societal implications of the current lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.  A full agenda and link to a streaming webcast of the meeting is available on the Committee’s website.  HRC submitted comments urging the Committee to recommend a revision to the policy that will allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.  Our comments, and a host of resources and information on the blood ban, are available at www.hrc.org/BloodBan. Leading up to today’s meeting, more and more voices are calling for an end to this outdated, unnecessary policy.  Yesterday, Congressmen Quigley (D-IL), Farr (D-CA), Nadler (D-IL) and Weiner (D-NY), joined by community leaders including HRC President Joe Solmonese, held a press conference urging the Committee to recommend a change, and a group of Senators and Representatives sent a joint letter to the Committee echoing that message.  Last week, the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School issued a report estimating that the blood ban bars over 7 million men from giving blood and lifting it could increase blood donations by more than 200,000 pints annually.  You too can urge the Committee to lift the ban as well – join in an action sponsored by OpenLeft to take action! We’ll keep you updated on the Committee’s conclusions and next steps toward ending the ban.

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