A person giving his blood (Illustration). – Lucile Gourdon / SIPA
Abstinence or illegality, the dilemma of homosexual blood donors. The National Assembly upheld the status quo regarding differential treatment in blood donation affecting homosexuals, a vote that split into the ranks of the majority LREM-MoDem, when considering a proposal LR.
This measure aligned for the donation the duration of abstinence of homosexuals on that applying to heterosexuals (four months of absence of relations with several partners). It had been added to the text in committee via an amendment of the Socialists, Hervé Saulignac in mind.
Thursday night, it was rejected by 29 votes against 23. Opposition groups, left and right, supported this text and the MoDem, denouncing "discrimination". "The exclusion criterion must be that of risky behavior and not sexual orientation," said MoDem MEP Jean-Luc Lagleize. "Stop these hypocrisy," said Xavier Paluszkiewicz, one of two "walkers" to vote for the text while his group voted against.
Since July 2016, homosexuals can theoretically donate blood, a move that has been banned since 1983 because of the risk of AIDS transmission.
But this possibility is subject to conditions set by a decree of April 5, 2016, including abstinence of one year, which must be declared during a preliminary interview.
"A political error" of the government
"The 12-month abstinence has no basis neither legal nor scientific," said Hervé Saulignac, lambasting "a political error" of the government. Health Minister Agnès Buzyn had tabled an amendment to delete the measure, before removing it so as not to give the impression of opposing "on the merits". She nevertheless called for "good sense" of the MPs before the election.
"Like you, I was surprised, not to say moved, the criterion of abstinence of one year (…) But do not write in the law selection criteria that would make us take a risk one day compared to a new pathogen or risk of epidemic, "said Agnès Buzyn emphasizing that these criteria are more of the regulation than the law.
Authorized blood donation from the age of 17
In this bill "aimed at consolidating the French model of donating blood," carried by Damien Abad (LR), the deputies also voted to lower the legal age of entitlement to donate blood from 18 to 17, age set in committee to align with European law.
The text also intended to encourage more employee donations by employees, to recall in the law the principles of safety, ethics and free donation of blood, and also to be able to write on the identity card elements on the blood group of the person. But the Assembly rejected all these other measures.