Lawmakers call for end to gay, bisexual blood ban

A man donating blood (KXAN Photo)
A man donating blood (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lawmakers called on federal regulators to lift a restriction on blood donations by gay and bisexual men, Tuesday.

In December, the FDA decided to lift their lifetime ban on blood donations.

The lifetime ban was replaced with a requirement that gay and bisexual men would need to be celibate for one year before giving blood.

Now, 130 members of Congress want the one-year requirement removed.

LGBT groups argue the ban is discriminatory, saying blood donations are adequately screened.

The Blood Center of Central Texas agrees.

“Because quite frankly the old [rule] dating back to 1977 criteria was outdated in terms of science,” Marshall Cothran, the blood center’s chief executive said.

“I think [the LGBTQ community] felt it, that it kept them from doing something that the rest of their peers can do to save lives: donate blood. There was also support for that position from the medical community and quite frankly the blood community… just based on scientific data it was past time for that change,” Cothran said.

More than four million eligible blood donors are affected by the current one-year requirement.

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