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The Netherlands scraps lifetime ban on gay blood donors

By Micah Sulit

The Netherlands has lifted a permanent ban on blood donations from gay men, with new restrictions limiting homosexual donors to those who have not had sex with another man in the last 12 months, reports the NL Times.

blood bag

The decision was announced by Minister of Health Edith Schippers, who said in a statement, “I am a staunch supporter of emancipation and equality of people, and at the same time responsible for the safe blood supply in the Netherlands.”

While welcoming the importance of overturning a lifetime ban on gay blood donors, Tanja Ineke, the chair of LGBT advocacy group COC, called the change in policy “very disappointing”. According to Ineke, the 12-month restriction “remains unnecessarily discriminatory [and the] proposal provides too little, too late”.

The Netherlands’ new policy for gay blood donors is now the same as existing restrictions in England, Scotland and Wales. Earlier this year, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant called on the government to do more research into MSM – men who have sex with men – blood donations.

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