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Gay teen’s organ donation denied

Sheryl Moore took some solace in knowing that her teenage son, who committed suicide, had helped save other lives by donating his organs.

Then she received word that her son’s eyes had been rejected for donation because he was gay.

According to this earlier KCCI report, AJ Betts took his own life in 2013 after being bullied at school for being different. He was teased for his sexual orientation, for being of mixed race and for having a cleft lip.

Betts had become an organ donor just months before his death.  He was able to donate his heart, lungs, liver and kidney without an issue. Moore says her son’s heart went to a 14-year-old boy. But Food and Drug Administration guidelines are different for tissue donations, which includes the eyes.

The FDA prohibits tissue donations from donors it believes carry risk factors for communicable diseases, such as HIV. Men who have had sex with other men in the last five years are ruled ineligible for donating tissue, including eyes. Since Moore cannot confirm whether her son was sexually active or not, his eyes are not eligible for donation.

Moore feels the regulation is archaic. She hopes sharing her son’s story will help lead to  a change in the FDA policy.

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  • Hours after the release of a Congressional Budget Office review of a Republican health care bill in the Senate, GOP leaders on Monday night found themselves on the defensive, as a small group of Senate Republicans indicated they might not even vote this week to start debate on the GOP health bill, let alone support the final product. “CBO says 22 million people lose insurance,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who made clear the GOP plans to reduce Medicaid spending by $772 billion over ten years was unacceptable in her home state. Collins was joined by several other Republicans in publicly saying that without changes, they are not ready to begin debate this week: I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won't do it. I will vote no on mtp. 1/3 — Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 26, 2017 Mike Lee's spokesman tells me: 'Lee will not vote to proceed to a bill he can't support.'https://t.co/eGe2fSyA09 — John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) June 26, 2017 Ron Johnson on the motion to proceed to the GOP health care bill: 'I would highly doubt I would support it.' — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) June 26, 2017 Also ready to vote against the “motion to proceed” to the health care bill – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). Democrats meanwhile used speeches on the Senate floor – and social media outside on the steps of the Capitol – to make their argument that the GOP bill should be shelved immediately. Ummm…people streaming to the Capitol. Crowd getting bigger and bigger and bigger. #HealthcareBill pic.twitter.com/SKnjQtzrBh — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 27, 2017 The original plan had been for the Senate to vote on Tuesday to begin debate on the GOP health care bill, with a final vote expected on Thursday or Friday – but that timeline seemed to be on hold for the time being. Earlier on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office found that the plan would mean 22 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2026, not much different than the estimates for a similar bill that was approved by the House in early May. The CBO report found that of the 22 million – 15 million would lose insurance coverage from changes to the Medicaid program, while another 7 million people would lose coverage because of changes in the nongroup and individual insurance marketplaces. The CBO review had good news on the money front for the GOP, as the plan would save an estimated $321 billion over ten years on the federal deficit, spending $1.022 trillion less than current law, while reducing federal tax revenues by $701 billion from 2017-2026. The White House derided the CBO report, arguing their estimates have never been close; meanwhile, the President was doing what he could do from the sidelines to try to sway Republicans to his side. “He made several calls to multiple Senators to hear their concerns and get their ideas, and understand where they’re at and what needs to get done,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. But with Republicans only able to lose two votes, GOP leaders were struggling to keep the GOP health bill on track in the Senate.
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