U.S. Senator sends letter challenging blood donation laws

Gay men can't donate if they had sex in last year
Posted at 7:37 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 20:37:49-04

MILWAUKEE -  U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin sent us a letter Tuesday, saying it's unacceptable that some gay and bisexual men are banned from donating desperately needed blood.  It's an FDA rule that she and many others would like to see changed.

Tragedies like what happened in an Orlando nightclub in which 49 lives were lost and 50 others injured, move people like Michael Lisowski to give blood.

“In the 80s, I was always giving blood a lot whenever they had blood drives, so not being able to, was kind of a let down and you want to do your part and your share," said Lisowski.

But Lisowski can no longer give blood, because of FDA regulations.  The FDA forbids men who've had sex with a man in the last 12 months from donating and that's upsetting a lot of people.

“They’re basing it on behaviors that probably can be screened for testing," said Lisowski.

Outside this LGBT support center, Kofi Short tells us he doesn't understand why there's a restriction.

“Well quite frankly it’s silly, it’s silly. For one, all I’d have to do is lie," said Short.

Short says 100 percent of blood donations are screened for disease, so why restrict people from donating. Because it happened at this gay nightclub.  Many in the LGBT community are feeling a sense of urgency to help.

“Because of this discriminatory policy, I would be rendered unable to help my community when it’s in such great need as it is now," said Short.

Because the shooting happened at this gay Orlando nightclub, so many in the LGBT community feel a sense of wanting to help.