In June of 2013 the American Medical Association (AMA) voted to oppose the policy that disallows gay and bisexual men from donating blood. One AMA board member, William Kobler, stated that this policy is discriminatory and scientifically unfounded. The ban has been in place for 30 years; however last month over 80 members of Congress criticized the ban in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Though DHHS has faced significant pressure both from Congress and grassroots activists, it is unwavering in its position that it will not lift the ban until and unless scientific data proves that a change in policy will not adversely affect blood recipients. The FDA acknowledges that many healthy donors are refused under this policy, but Susan Stramer, executive scientific officer at the American Red Cross, maintains that there is a surplus of blood at present and the real issue “is about what’s equitable.”
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