Health Minister removes ban on gay blood donations

New regulations will ask all those who have engaged in high-risk behavior in recent months not to donate blood.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Blood donation
Blood donation

Following a directive from the Israeli Health Minister, Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), the Health Ministry has removed a clause in the MDA blood donation questionnaire that restricts the ability of gay men to donate blood. The new regulations will take effect on October 1.

The offending clause banned gay men from donating blood if they had had relations with another man in the past three months, due to the medical risk attached. Although screening can detect certain diseases in the blood, some diseases may not be detectable if they were contracted in most recent three months, hence the measure to ban donations. However, activists from the LBGTQIA+ community, of which Horowitz is a member, objected to the clause, arguing that it discriminates against them.

Now the clause is to be replaced by a question posed to all would-be blood donors, asking them to refrain from donating blood if they have engaged in high-risk relations in the last three months with a new partner or with multiple partners.

According to a Health Ministry statement, the change in the regulations was made “following the expert recommendations of a panel that advises the Health Ministry on infusion medicine, and it is consistent with policy changes made in other countries in the world.”

Health Minister Horowitz stated: “There is no difference between one person’s blood and that of another. The ban on blood donations from gay men was the remnant of stereotypes that belong to history. We have been trying to fix this discrimination in Israel for years without success and finally we have made progress.”

“When I first entered the Health Ministry I ordered an immediate end to discrimination against gay men on this issue, and this is what we have done. We have removed this degrading and irrelevant question from the blood donation questionnaire. From today [sic.] all blood donors who want to save lives will receive equal treatment, regardless of their sector or orientation, whether they are LGBT or straight.”

He added that, “Following the revolution in surrogacy laws, assistance programs to the trans community, and a precedent-setting budget for the pride community, we have taken another historic step for equal LGBT rights in Israel, and this is a great source of pride.”