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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Sex, blood, prudes and the drama of lifesaving

Could someone please define the word “explicit?”

Last Wednesday, Orem resident Diane Ogborn complained to the Utah State Board of Education that Red Cross blood drives at public high schools are too racy for Utah teens. She even went as far as to say the donor screening process could be in violation of state law.

State law clearly explains which kinds of sexual content students can be exposed to. (And why you Utah-educated kids out there are wondering why you never heard the word “condom” in your sophomore health class.)

The state Legislature decreed condoms are naughty (if people know about them they’ll go have S-E-X).

Ogborn is arguing the same laws that don’t allow sex-ed teachers to tell students about safe sex (unless anyone has the courage to ask directly) proscribe medical technicians from asking certain questions to blood donors.

The words used in the questionnaire, she says, are “explicit.”

Having read through the screening questions, I was a little confused about what Ogborn found so objectionable.

All I could remember being asked was something like, “Have you had unprotected sex in the last six months?” Since no part of that question is even remotely explicit, I decided to find out what questions were being deemed as so appalling.

Were technicians busting out a copy of the Kama Sutra and showing kids page 23?

“All right, have you ever done this? (Turn the page.) What about this?” (And so forth.)

And I doubt students went into a backroom with pornographic movies and told, “Now, when you’re done watching, I need you to tell me if any of that seemed familiar.”

As a matter of fact, none of the technicians were defining sexual and anatomical terms rapper-style. Eminem, the king of “explicit lyrics” and “objectionable content,” was not quoted or alluded to at any time. Shockingly, the technicians behaved like responsible members of the medical field.

Students were asked things like, “Have you ever had sex with a male who has had sex with another male?” or “From 1977 to the present, have you received money, drugs, or other payments for sex?”

Now, I could see how such questions might cause a little Molly Mormon to blush furiously or a young Peter Priesthood to start snickering uncontrollably. Still, I don’t see how such questions could be defined as “explicit.”

They are just medical questions necessary to screen out unsuitable blood donors. They are every bit as necessary as the ones asking if you’ve recently recovered from the cold or flu.

Ogborn is arguing that since technicians must ask potential donors a list of specific questions -many of them sex-related-the Red Cross should require parental consent forms.

Shockingly, the Red Cross already does require permission slips.

Only students older than 18 do not need parental consent to donate blood. The minimum age to donate blood in Utah is 17. Any high-school juniors or seniors not of legal age must get their parents to sign a permission slip-along with a pamphlet describing exactly what kinds of questions will be asked during the process.

I tried hard to dredge up some sympathy for such a panic-prone, drama-causing ninny-and in case you can’t tell, it didn’t work.

Maybe I’m just desensitized from my PG (sometimes PG-13) lifestyle, but I don’t see how these questions are either a) explicit, or b) breaking state law-especially considering they require parental permission.

There is a blood shortage in the United States right now. Patients are not getting the life-saving blood they need. If I was a mother and my 17-year-old son wanted to give blood, I would be so overjoyed. I was would be too pleased by his sense of civic responsibility to care that a medical professional was going to ask him, “In the past 12 months, have you had any sexual contact with a prostitute or anyone else who takes money or drugs or other payments for sex?”

I would be upset if the answer was “yes,” but upset that his virgin ears had to hear the word “prostitute?” Not really.

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