Health Officials Allegedly Reject Organ Donor Because He is Gay
The family of a deceased Pittsburgh man says his organs were to be donated but rejected because of his sexuality and not because of health reasons, Think Progress reports.
Despite being healthy, the family of Rohn Neugebauer, 48, who died of a heart attack on March 16, say officials from Center of Organ Recovery and Education denied his organs and tissue because he is gay.
According to Neugebauer's sister, Sandy Schulteis, she was asked a number of questions after his passing by a CORE representative. She said the interview went well until she revealed her brother was gay and that he had been in a committed eight-year relationship with another man. She says the CORE rep then told her he wouldn't be eligible for donation.
Think Progress reports there is "no blanket prohibition on organ donations from sexually active gay men." The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, however, says "men who have had sex with another man in the preceding 5 years" should not donate their organs "regardless of their HIV antibody test results."
Dan Burda, Neugebauer's partner who co-hosted a fundraise for CORE, took to Facebook to complain about the incident.
"It really makes me nauseous to think they declined him. I think it's very prejudiced, implying that basically that gay people all have AIDS and HIV," he wrote.
A Change.org petition has been created that urges CORE to change its policy that excludes men who have sex with men from donating their organs.
The petition reads:
"We are excluding the possibility of perfectly good organs from benefiting and potentially saving the lives of those who are dying or have a poor quality of life simply because the donor happens to be a homosexual. We have started this petition because the FDA regulations are out of date and impeding individuals from receiving life saving organs ans [sic] tissue. We can make a difference by forcing these rules to be changed and better testing measures to be enforced. Far to many people are dying while perfectly good organs are being wasted due to the sexual orientation of the donor."