New York Representatives Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney are the latest lawmakers to call on
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the ban prohibiting
gay and bisexual men from donating blood during the COVID-19
The FDA adopted a lifetime ban in 1983
in response to the AIDS crisis. In 2015, the agency relaxed the ban
to allow for donations from men who have sex with men who have
abstained from sexual contact for 12 months.
In a letter to the agency dated April
1, Ocasio-Cortez and Maloney, both Democrats, argue that the policy
is outdated and “not based on current science.”
“This antiquated policy is not based
on current science, stigmatizes the LGBTQIA+ community, and
undermines crucial efforts to increase the nation's blood supply as
the United States grapples with the coronavirus crisis,” the letter
As the pandemic has intensified in the
United States, thousands of blood drives have been forced to cancel,
resulting in roughly 130,000 fewer donations.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has
called on Americans to donate blood amid the pandemic.
“In light of the potential long-term
impacts the coronavirus outbreak may have on the nation's blood
supply, we urge FDA to act swiftly in revising its policy so every
person who can safely donate blood in the United States has the
opportunity to do so,” the lawmakers said in their letter.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from
Wisconsin and the only out lesbian in the Senate, organized a similar
letter with 17 senators calling on the FDA to change its policy.
Thirty House members signed onto a similar effort earlier this year
before the outbreak started.
senators urge FDA to lift ban on gay men donating blood amid COVID-19