Sunday, January 16, 2005

Blood Screening Too Sexy for Utah

Most people who donate blood do so to help save the lives of others, but not me. I do it because those Red Cross blood screening questions inflame my heart and loins with the red-hot lust of transgression. Nothing turns me on like stepping aboard the blood bus and having a strange phlebotomist ask if I've ever had sex with another man.

Unfortunately, Diane Ogborn of Orem, Utah has folks like me all figured out. Last Wednesday, Ogborn asked the Utah Board of Education to ban high school blood drives across the state in order to protect students from sex-related questions asked of all potential donors. Her argument was that the questions violated a state law limiting the sexual content students can be exposed to in the classroom.

"As a parent (which obviously inflates the worth of her opinion exponentially), how I read it, it looks to me like it violates the law," says the 37-year-old mother of four. Never mind the fact that no one under 17 can donate blood in the first place, or that these underage students already have to have their parents sign a consent form containing a frank description of the sex-related questions asked of donors.

The board ruled that blood drives weren't covered by the state law Ogborn cited, but they are going to develop a policy that essentially does nothing more than codify the parental consent process already practiced by the blood bank. "That kids have access to that language concerns me, too," said sympathetic board superintendent Patti Harrington.

The Red Cross Lewis & Clark Blood Region estimates that some five percent of Utah's blood supply comes from high school blood drives. If Ogborn is ever the unfortunate victim of an icy smash-up on Interstate 15, I trust she'll refuse to be transfused with that five percent.

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