MEPs vote to end discrimination against homosexuals
Soon more questions about sexual orientation in blood donation questionnaires? The new amendment voted on Wednesday, June 9 by the National Assembly puts an end to the difference in treatment between homosexuals and heterosexuals wanting to donate blood. Since 2019, blood donation has been open to men who have had sex with other men, but on condition that they have observed a period of abstinence of four months before the collection. A condition which ruled out, in fact, many of them from donating blood.
The amendment removes this obligation of abstinence. “The donor selection criteria […] may not be based on any difference in treatment, in particular as regards the sex of the partner or partners with whom the donors have had a sexual relationship “, have registered the deputies.
According to information from the magazine “Têtu”, the reform could come into force on 1is January 2022.
“Anyone can donate blood, let’s go”
The one-year period of abstinence that homosexuals had to respect to donate blood since 2016 had been reduced to four months in 2019. The Ministry of Health had presented the reduction of this period as “A first step” towards an alignment of the donation conditions for homosexuals with those of heterosexuals, envisaged “By 2022”.
The news coincides with a call for donations from the French Blood Establishment (EFS), which warns of too low blood reserves due to a drop in the number of blood drives linked to the health crisis.
“This signal says ‘anyone can donate blood, let’s go'”, welcomes with the “Parisian” Gérard Leseul, PS deputy having reported an amendment similar to that voted on Wednesday.
“An open door to a difference in treatment”
The only problem is that the latest version of the amendment voted by the Assembly indicates that the donor selection criteria cannot be based on discrimination. “Not justified by the need to protect the donor or the recipient”.“This formulation is an open door to a difference in treatment. I have the feeling that the government wishes to give pledges but does not manage to go to the end ”, explains to “Têtu” the deputy PS Hervé Saulignac, rapporteur of the initial amendment. For the parliamentarian, it will be necessary to verify its application in practice.
The Minister of Health Olivier Véran nevertheless welcomed the news Thursday on Twitter: “Donating blood will meet the same health security requirements, regardless of one’s sexuality. Parliament has just voted in principle. I will thus align the donor selection criteria in the coming months ”, he said.