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Tory MEP: European court ‘missed an opportunity’ to end the blood ban

Nick Duffy April 29, 2015

A Conservative MEP has questioned a ruling by the European Court of Justice, after the court ruled it “may be justified” to ban men who have sex with men (MSM) from giving blood for life.

In a number of European countries, MSM still face lifetime bans on blood donations under regulations introduced at the height of the AIDS crisis. In the UK, MSM currently face a 12-month deferral period.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled today that it may be justified to indefinitely ban men from giving blood, while hearing the case of a French man who was refused the right to do so.

Unlike in the UK where men who have sex with men can donate blood after abstaining from sex for twelve months, in France there is still a lifetime ban.

The ruling from the ECJ maintained that member states have the authority to govern their own bans, saying EU countries has the responsibility to stop blood donations from anyone “at a high risk of acquiring severe infectious diseases, such as HIV”.

Ian Duncan MEP, Vice President of the European Parliament’s LGBTI intergroup, said: “This ruling represents a missed opportunity by the Court of Justice.

“In the UK we have already abolished lifetime bans for men who sleep with men, recognising that it is sexual behaviour not orientation that is important when determining whether someone can give blood.

“I hope member states will follow the example that the UK has set.”

Though a lifetime ban has been lifted in England, Scotland and Wales, it is not yet abolished across the UK as the Northern Irish DUP refuses to lift the lifetime ban.

The Northern Irish Department of Health recently admitted it does not have any evidence to back up maintaining a lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood – but successive Democratic Unionist Party Health Ministers have refused to budge on the issue.

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Jim Wells stepped down this month, after making comments linking gay parenting to child abuse.

 

More: blood, blood ban, Conservative, donation, European Parliament's LGBTI intergroup, Gay, Ian Duncan, MEP, MSM, Tory

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