drip drop

John Kerry + the Dems Are Going After the FDA’s Stupid Ban on Gay Men’s Blood. Fantastic

Will it take an act of Congress to get the Food and Drug Administration to lift its ban on gay male donors? Or just Sen. John Kerry running his mouth about the stupid policy?

Just after we heard the excellent recommendations from the Gay Men’s Health Crisis about how to fix the FDA’s discriminatory (and altogether harmful) policy on gay men, it’s Kerry to the rescue. “Not a single piece of scientific evidence supports the ban,” says Kerry. “A law that was once considered medically justified is today simply outdated and needs to end.”

With a Bay Windows op-ed and an open letter to the FDA co-signed by twenty other Senate Democrats, Kerry looks to be lifting directly from GMHC’s advisory, demanding even the questionnaire used to screen donors be updated.

“A law that was once considered medically justified is today simply outdated and needs to end, just as last year we ended the travel ban against those with HIV,” the senator says in a statement issued today.

This is bold. And this is just what’s necessary. Without anyone on the Hill pushing the FDA to update its policy, the organization was free to maintain banning any man who’s had sex, even once, with another man since 1977. The American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) are all in agreement that the donor pool should be opened to gay men, and that there are more reasonable precautions to take to ensure the safety of the blood supply than stigmatizing gay sex. This is a move stripped of corporate influence and lobbyists. This is a move that’s just the right thing to do.

And it’s the responsibility of FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg — who’s been on the job less than a year — to do just that.

[Kerry’s letter was co-signed by: Sens. Kirstin Gillibrand (N.Y.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Al Franken (Minn.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Tom Harkin (Ohio), Mark Begich (Alaska), Roland Burris (Ill.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.).]

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  • sonofloud

    This is the best the democrats can do for the gay community ???
    Don’t ask, don’t give.

  • Ryan

    I wouldn’t be too harsh on the Democrats. At least they are trying and we need to be supportive of them. The Republicans have done virtually nothing to advance gay rights and are known for being anti-gay. You guys have to understand that the Democrats are having trouble in DC because the Republicans are refusing to do anything but say “no”. How do you expect them to focus on more issues when they have this challenge that is slowing the process down dramatically? They are taking a risk. Obama was taking a risk by asking to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. At least the man is trying. He didn’t have to do that and it was a very unpopular issue with Clinton. I am just re-leaved to have a president taking a stand. Stop whining and be a little patient!

  • Steve

    The Democrats need to change Rule 22. Instead of requiring 60 votes to end debate, they should require 40 affirmative votes to continue debate for one additional hour. At the end of the schedule determined by the rules committee, take a roll-call vote to continue debate for one additional hour. At the end of each additional hour, take another roll-call vote. If 40 senators want to continue a debate, they should have to be present and awake, and vote once an hour. When a debate-continuation vote gets fewer than 40 votes, the debate ends immediately, and the leadership may then schedule the final vote on the bill.

    Also, the rule should say that quorum calls are out of order during the extended debate. The roll call is only to determine if there are at least 40 senators who want to continue debate. Senators who have made up their minds and do not want the debate to continue, should not be required to be present for the remainder of the debate.

    How long can 40 men all go without sleep?

  • tjr101

    I can see the Republican right-wing ads on this. “Democrats looking to spread Homosexual diseases through blood transfusion.” There’ll be mass hysteria among the tea party conservatives.

  • tazz

    I sort of agree with Bill Maher when he said “Barack Obama needs a little Bush in him”, implying that even though Bush had bad ideas, he wasn’t concerned with the “other side’s opinion” and pushed them through anyway.

    In this case, Barack wants to be Mr. Nice Guy and appease to the religious psychopaths on the right. He has to accept the fact that they’re never going to agree with him on everything. Victory to them is not winning on an issue, but simply winning in favor of whatever opposing view they have.

  • reason

    @tazz: Victory for them is making health care Obama’s waterloo, and after slaying the democrats they can restore Bush’s coalition to the throne.

  • emb

    The comments here seem to have strayed from the story. Hooray for Kerry and the Dems if they get that rule reversed — it’s patently ridiculous that a gay man in a relationship for 8 years can’t give blood, but a straight guy who has vaginal intercourse with relative strangers can donate til he’s a dried-up husk.

  • ewe

    This is a no brainer. There must be a class action lawsuit on the horizon that they are attempting to fend off.

  • Hyhybt

    Why was Kerry standing in front of the world’s largest dandelion?

  • ewe

    @Hyhybt: lmao. thank you HYHYBT. I need to laugh at least once a day like that and i always make a point to thank whoever is responsible for giving me the gift. That was hysterical.

  • MuckFexico

    Im sorry, but I think gay blood should only gay to gay people.
    Having had several blood transfusions….Id do without, rather than risk getting AIDS from a gay donor.
    My luck, theyll come out the day after my transfusion and say ‘well Ill be…you CAN get AIDS from gay blood’.

    Why on Earth would anyone want to do this?! Its sick. Since being gay is a genetic flaw, why would we try to push it through blood?
    Please, keep your gay blood to yourselves, no one wants it.
    NO one but the gays. Do a study, I think youll find out that more Americans would rather risk death, then be given tainted homo-blood.

  • Jeff

    Correction – Harkin is a senator from Iowa not Ohio

  • Jeff

    Comment – I would tend to think a large portion of gay men WOULD give blood… not only that, but would do so consistently.

    The question arises if there is an enhanced risk of HIV infected blood mixing into pool… If the blood is properly screened after donation… as I’d hope it always is no matter the donor… the risk should be successfully mitigated. This is a great thing for the “always in need” local blood bank.

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