Fill in the blank:MO…
Fill in the blank:

MONMOUTH, Ore. (AP) – Two student legislators at Western Oregon University have launched a drive to ban Red Cross blood drives on campus, claiming the donor screening process discriminates against _____

If you said “people who have returned from a country with a high incidence of malaria”, you’d be wrong. Although they are discriminated against, that’s not what the drive is about. This is the nation’s blood supply we’re talking about, and a few hurt feelings are nothing compared to the potential damage an infected blood supply would mean. So discrimination is good in this case; it is demonstrably for a far greater good.

There are a bunch of reasons that the Red Cross, following FDA regulations, would turn you down when giving blood, and they could all be considered reasonable discrimination. What if you had AIDS or were at a higher risk of getting it based on your behavior? Well yes, that’s your clue to the missing word. It’s “gays“.

The two students are particularly upset about a donor question that reads: “Are you a male who has had sex with another male since 1977, even once?”

The federal Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the Red Cross screening process, will not accept a donation from someone who answers ‘yes’ to the question, in order to help eliminate potentially HIV-tainted blood.

“By continuing to allow the Red Cross on our campus, the university is telling all the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students that we don’t care about you,” said student senator Shauna Bates, who is co-sponsoring the legislation.

No, Ms. Bates, that’s not what anyone’s saying, and if you wish to continue on in politics I would suggest that you reconsider knee-jerk reactions anytime homosexuality comes up. It is not true that the Red Cross doesn’t care about you. If gays need blood, they can get it; there is no lack of compassion there. On the other hand, the Red Cross does care about those who get the blood, and preventing the accidental spread of AIDS is far, far more of a concern than your hurt feelings for those who that screen process excludes.

If the resolution passes with a two-thirds majority vote of the senate’s 14 members, no student-funded organization would be allowed to sponsor a blood drive. Current blood drives on campus, though, get their funding from the university’s health services department.

Wave “bye-bye” to the baby and the bathwater, if that passes. Hypersensitivity about gays trumps lifesaving? At least not everyone on campus believes that.

Student Molly Underwood said that matters of public health supersede those of discrimination.

“Just because somebody thinks something is unfair doesn’t mean you should ban it,” Underwood said. “Lives could be at stake.”

Molly, perhaps you need to run for student government. Sound like you have a good head on your shoulders.

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