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Changes Sought In Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men

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FRANKLIN (CBS) — A student at Dean College in Franklin thought he was doing the right thing by donating a pint of blood at the American Red Cross blood drive on campus.

But he never got that chance when he was turned away by a nurse because he is gay.

He wants to protect his identity, but not his message.

“She immediately looked at me and said we will not need you today, we’re all set, and gave me a deferral letter.”  But the nurse never filled out the reason for rejecting him on the form, finding out later it’s been standard Red Cross procedure since 1987.

In fact, it’s a lifetime ban for gay men donating blood, mandated by the Food and Drug Administration over concern about HIV tainting the blood supply.

The organization says it’s a difficult guideline with blood in demand, but its hands are tied.

“The safety of the blood supply is a top priority, we are obligated as a blood banking organization to follow deferral policies set by the FDA,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Donna Morrissey.

 WBZ Producer Jon MacLean spoke with Donna Morrissey

[Should the FDAs mandate that bans gay men from donating blood be changed?

(polls)

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