February 5, 2008, - 11:43 am
By Debbie Schlussel
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bars gay men from donating blood. It’s not about discrimination–as the agency also bars non-gay persons who also are at risk for fatal diseases and viruses. It’s about protecting the blood supply from AIDS and protecting Americans’ health.
The fact is that AIDS tests are not always certain. The disease can show up in the infected up to ten years after the fact. Not accepting blood donations from gay men is an important safety precaution. And unlike the warnings they gave us in the ’80s, we never saw the explosion of AIDS in the general population–just in the gay male and intravenous drug user population.
But common sense and safety precautions are not a good thing in the mind of San Jose State University President Don Kassing. He says this violate SJSU’s non-discrimination policy. So, how is he responding? Well, the numbskull with a Ph.D. is banning ALL blood drives on campus. This, at a time when American blood donations are low and hospitals are running short.
I wish some daring students at SJSU would flout the policy and hold a blood drive, because I can’t believe this policy is Constitutional. SJSU receives a great deal of federal funds, including federal student loans and grants, and it cannot flout FDA policy, nor can it ban students from freedom of association and assembly in holding a blood drive. If SJSU’s president Kassing’s fatwa is challenged in court, I doubt it will pass Constitutional muster. Discrimination–as in this case–is lawful, where there are legitimate national security and/or safety concerns, as there are with the blood supply.
Would you take blood from anonymous donors, if you knew it could come from a gay male who might have undetected AIDS? Hello . . . ?:
San Jose State University President Don Kassing said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s position conflicts with the school’s policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
A campus employee brought the matter to Kassing’s attention last year, and school officials gathered information and spoke with the FDA before Kassing decided to discontinue on-campus blood drives until he is satisfied the agency reevaluates its stand, he said.
“I recognize the importance of giving blood and we know that universities are a significant source of blood,” Kassing wrote in an e-mail sent Tuesday to faculty, staff, students and alumni. “Our hope is that the FDA will revisit its deferral policy in a timely manner and we may soon be able to hold blood drives on this campus again.” . . .
People with past histories of intravenous drug use, prostitution, hemophilia, hepatitis or certain heart and lung diseases are subject to the same lifetime ban on giving, according to the FDA. Individuals are ruled out when they fill out a questionnaire that asks about medical histories and past behaviors.
People who have been treated for cancer, women who have sex with bisexual men and travelers who may have been exposed to the human form of mad cow disease by spending three months or more in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996 also are generally disqualified for periods ranging from one to five years.
“The persons who are deferred, this is not based at all upon judgment of their behaviors themselves. They are simply based on the mathematical model of risk,” said FDA spokeswoman Peper Long.
This is ridiculous. The SJSU policy will not get the FDA to change its sound policy barring all of those who contribute a high risk of potentially-fatal virus to the blood supply.
And it has a significant impact in the long-term:
Local blood banks say that position comes at a steep cost.
Blood drives on the San Jose campus bring in an estimated 1,000 pints a year, estimates Michele Hyndman of the Stanford Blood Center. In general, she said high school and college campuses account for about 20 percent of all donated blood.
Hyndman argues the effects of the ban go further, however, since many students who first give blood in campus drives go on to become lifelong donors.
Lisa Bloch, spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Blood Centers of the Pacific, agreed, calling Kassman’s decision “irresponsible.”
Thanks to reader Ari for the tip. He writes:
There’s something truly sinister about the gay rights agenda. This is more disgusting than buggery.
Amen. AIDS–contrary to the gay rights movement–did not become “everyone’s disease.” By pushing this, it’s clear they want to make it everyone’s disease by pushing it on the blood supply.
G-d help us, if the FDA changes its sound policy.
Tags: AIDS, Blood Centers, cancer, Debbie Schlussel, Don Kassing, Food and Drug Administration, hemophilia, hepatitis, Lisa Bloch, lung diseases, mad cow disease, Michele Hyndman, Peper Long, President, San Francisco, San Jose campus, San Jose State University, spokeswoman, Stanford Blood Center, United Kingdom