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Tory MP to introduce motion to stop discrimination against gay men donating blood

Joseph McCormick September 4, 2014
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Conservative MP Michael Fabricant will next month introduce legislation calling for an end to discrimination against men who have sex with men giving blood.

Currently gay and bisexual men can give blood, but only after abstaining from sex for twelve months before donating.

Mr Fabricant will introduce a Private Member’s Bill on 22 October in the House of Commons, and speak for ten minutes on why the ban should be removed.

The bill is entitled the Blood Donation (Equality) Bill, and the motion calls for “leave to be given to bring in a Bill to allow donation of blood by all male donors on the same basis; and for connected purposes.”

Mr Fabricant told PinkNews: “There is no logic when a straight man who is screwing around with a different girl every night can give blood while a monogamous gay man in a stable relationship has to be celibate for 12 months before he is allowed to do so. Of course, the safety of patients and of donors must be paramount, but this whole issue needs to be looked at again. With a shortage of donors of specific blood groups, it is becoming urgent.

“I am hoping for cross-party support with this Bill and I am delighted that Caroline Lucas MP who represents the Greens in Parliament and has also campaigned on this issue will be supporting me.

“While the legislation is unlikely to become law because of lack of Parliamentary time, the airing of these issues in the Commons Chamber will be a step in the right direction.

“This is one of the last areas of discrimination remaining against gay people in this country.”

In 2011, England, Wales and Scotland introduced a 12-month deferral, under the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO).

A lifetime ban remains in place in Northern Ireland.

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, has campaigned against the 12-month deferral for many years.

Later this autumn, the MP will table a parliamentary motion calling for “full equality in blood donation” and abolition of the 12-month deferral rule for gay and bisexual men.

In June, the Department of Health (DH) rejected calls by the Green Party to end the restrictions.

A DH spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk: “The 12-month deferral reflects the heightened risk men who have sex with men have from blood-borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B.

“It allows for the period of time these viruses can go undetected by screening tests and lessens the risk of infection in people who need blood donations.”

The Department of Health also suggested that a fresh review would be premature as SaBTO had issued its recommendations less than three years ago.

 

Related topics: ban, blood, blood donation, gay and bisexual, Men, Michael Fabricant

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