Metro Weekly

Gay teen suicide’s eye donation rejected due to FDA rules

“I couldn’t understand why my 16-year-old son’s eyes couldn’t be donated just because he was gay.”

Alexander Betts, Jr. - Photo: KCCI

Alexander Betts, Jr. – Photo from a KCCI news video

— Sheryl Moore, mother of a Des Moines, Iowa gay teen who committed suicide after being bullied after coming out. Alexander Betts, Jr., had requested his organs be donated after his death, and while his heart, liver, lungs and kidneys all found recipients, his eyes were rejected on the basis that he was a man who had sex with men and therefore a risk, according to an archatic, still-enforced FDA ban. Glenn Cohen, a bioethics law professor at Harvard Law School told CBS news in July, “We think it’s time for the FDA to take a serious look at this policy, because it’s out of step with peer countries, it’s out of step with modern medicine, it’s out of step with public opinion, and we feel it may be legally problematic.”

Source: Washington Post

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at