U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren Lead Bipartisan Call on FDA to End Discriminatory Blood Donation Ban

In light of the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, 24 Senators join letter urging FDA to develop better blood donation policies based on individual risk

By - Jun 20th, 2016 02:05 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today led a bipartisan group of 24 Senators in calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to swiftly move to end the discriminatory blood donation deferral policy for men who have sex with men (MSM). The bipartisan letter was sent in light of the recent mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and requests an update on FDA’s efforts to implement the updated one year deferral policy and to completely end the blood ban by developing better blood donor deferral policies that are grounded in science, based on individual risk factors, don’t unfairly single out one group of individuals, and allow all healthy Americans to donate.

“During times of tragedy, the American people are quick to demonstrate their resiliency and mobilize in solidarity with victims and affected communities. We have witnessed that compassion as Floridians quickly lined up to donate blood for the wounded. Yet, some of those most touched by this tragedy—members of the LGBT community, who are especially eager to contribute to the response effort—are finding themselves turned away. Due to the FDA’s current MSM deferral policy, many healthy gay and bisexual men remain prohibited from donating needed blood,” the senators wrote. “We are steadfastly committed to ending the FDA’s discriminatory policy that prohibits many healthy MSM from donating blood and moving to policies that secure our nation’s blood supply in a scientifically sound manner based on individual risk.”

Joining Senators Baldwin and Warren in sending the letter are Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

At the end of last year, the FDA released guidance that lifted the lifetime ban on blood donation and implemented a new policy requiring a year of abstinence prior to donating blood. While the Senators express support for this step forward, they maintain that a time-based deferral not based on individual risk remains discriminatory. In December 2014, over 75 members of Congress in called on HHS Secretary Burwell to end the outdated and discriminatory ban, and replace it by instituting a risk-based policy.

A copy of the letter is available online here.

 

Mentioned in This Press Release

Organizations:

Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Federal Court Ruling to Dismantle the Affordable Care Act and Repeal Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

"This ruling is a threat because Walker's lawsuit would take away guaranteed health protections and raise costs for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions."

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Colleagues to Help Protect People’s Personal Data Online

Data Care Act will stop websites and apps from using personal data against users, protect user information from hacks and hold companies accountable for misuse

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Applauds Senate Passage of Bipartisan Farm Bill That Includes Major Investments for Wisconsin Farmers and Rural Communities

Bipartisan legislation includes improved risk management tools for dairy farmers, grants for Dairy Business Innovation, mental health resources for farmers and provisions to combat fraudulent organic imports

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us