(CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS) -- Every day in the United States, 43,200 people—one every two seconds—need life-saving blood transfusions. In that same 24 hours, 18 people will die while waiting for a donor organ, with the gap between donated organs and those on the waitlist growing every year. Our country is in the midst of what could only be described as a critical shortage of the blood, tissue, and organ donations that sustain and improve the lives of patients across our country.
Yet the Department of Health and Human Services’ policies on donor eligibility prevent donation by gay men because of outdated assumptions that are decades out of step with medical science. These policies harm patients who would benefit from the department modernizing these standards, which amount to little more than discriminatory relics of the past. As noted by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), “Equality for the LGBT community is closer than ever, but outdated and discriminatory policies … must evolve to match advancements in science and technology.”