The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Vaishalee Raja, Equality California
916-284-9187 E

State of California Calls on Federal Government to Change Outdated Blood Donor Policy


State Senate today approved the U.S. Blood Donor Nondiscrimination
Resolution (AJR 13) with a bipartisan vote of 22-8. The resolution calls
on the Federal Drug Administration to repeal its outdated and
scientifically unnecessary rule prohibiting healthy gay and bisexual men
from donating blood. AJR 13, sponsored by Equality California and
introduced by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), puts the
State of California on record in support of updating rules for blood
donation, which would increase the number of life-saving blood donations
with no increase in risk of disease.

nation lacks a sufficient blood supply due in part to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration's antiquated policies preventing healthy gay and
bisexual men from donating blood," said Equality California Executive
Director Geoff Kors. "We thank the California legislature for passing
this important resolution calling on the federal government to repeal
this harmful ban immediately."

federal rules prohibit any man who has had a sexual relationship with
another man in the past 31 years from donating blood at any facility,
regardless of personal health. The law prevents innumerable gay and
bisexual men who are otherwise healthy from contributing to the nation's
blood supply, which faces chronic shortfalls due to a lack of
donations. In 2007, the Red Cross reported that Southern California's
blood supply had reached critical levels, resulting in a record low
four-hour supply of type-O negative blood. More recently, the New York
Blood Center began rationing its supply to hospitals in and around New
York City because of a shortfall there.

in 1983, the rule targeted gay and bisexual men due to fear of HIV/AIDS
transmission, when little was known about the disease or how it is
spread. Today, a better understanding of the disease and significant
innovations in blood screening technology make the fear of HIV/AIDS
spreading through the blood supply nearly nonexistent. Despite
significant technological advances, the current federal policy remains.

has no sexual orientation, and the FDA should have no discrimination,"
Assemblymember Ammiano said. "I hope President Obama hears our call to
change this shameful and discriminatory practice immediately so we can
save more lives."

For more information about Equality California's other legislation, please visit us online at

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.