23 December 2014

Can The FDA Do What The Roman Catholic Church Can't?

Ever since the Second Lateran Council of 1139, the Roman Catholic Church has required priests to be celibate.  We can all see how well that worked.

To be fair, other religious traditions require their clergy to abstain from sex, and they were no better able to enforce such a rule.  Still, if the Roman Church hasn't been able to enforce such a thing for nearly a millenium--and, for about half of that time, it was the single most powerful organization on the face of the Earth (some argue that it still is)--how can any American governmental agency, even one with the expertise and resources of the Food and Drug Administration, do it?

Maybe I shouldn't ask.  The fact that they think they can is incredibly naive or monumentally arrogant--or just plain creepy.  And funny, in a warped, if not dark sort of way.

So, who does the FDA want to be chaste?  Blood donors.  Let me qualify that:  They say they're willing to lift the three-decade-old ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood (enacted just as the AIDS epidemic was gathering steam) on the condition that they are celibate for a year before parting with their blood.

I really want to know how they expect to enforce such a policy. Will phlebotomists have to ask men their sexual orientation?  If so, how would they do that--orally, with a written questionnaire, or in some other way?  Or will background checks be conducted on would-be donors?


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