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Quigley co-sponsors bill to remove LGBTQ blood donation ban

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) and Val Demmings (D-Fla.) co-sponsored a bill that would remove the ban on LGBTQ people donating blood.

According to a press release from Demmings, the bill was submitted on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

U.S. Rep. Val Demmings (D-Fla)

“Every day, across the United States, donated blood marks the difference between life and death,” Demmings said in a press release. “There is no substitute. Yet our country turns away thousands of healthy and willing blood donors based solely on their gender identity and sexual orientation. This policy is based on fear, sigma, and prejudice, not science. Expanding the donor pool by hundreds of thousands of healthy Americans would save lives every day in emergency rooms and hospitals around the country.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago)

“I’ve been proud to lead on this issue in Congress and am equally proud to introduce this bill with my good friend Rep. Val Demings,” Quigley said. “Over the course of many years, we have made significant progress in rolling back an indefinite ban on blood donations from MSM, to a 12 month deferral to the current 3 month deferral. This is still not enough.”

Both representatives said removing the ban was even more necessary in the middle of a global pandemic.

“We need more people who can donate blood, we need more people who can donate organs and tissue and we are arrogant and ignorant if we think that heterosexual blood, organ, and tissue is better than LGBTQI+ blood, organ, and tissue,” said Deric Kimler, executive director of Central Illinois Friends of PWAs. “This rule is archaic, as it was a response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and was wrongfully pushed on the LGBTQI+ community. The reason why is because we were considered deviants and perverts, a label that is still being pushed on us today.”

This legislation would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise its Guidance on Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission (HIV) by Blood and Blood Products based on an assessment of current testing accuracy and individual risk-based analysis, rather than categorization. It would also require the FDA to revise the donor questionnaire based on an individual risk assessment of sexual behaviors upon which all donors are evaluated equally, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

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