Friday, 23 September 2011

Unclean, unclean!

IT seems that we are determined here in Norn Iron to emulate the southern states of the US’s Bible Belt. At least that would seem to be the case as Health Minister Edwin Poots declared this week that the lifetime ban on homosexual men donating blood would continue.

Mr Poots may or may not be right in stating this was a rational course but, as they say in marketing, it is all about perception.

First off, one would not like to see this laid open to a judicial review – lawyers get enough money as it is. Second, what will this do to Norn Iron as tourist destination for the ‘pink pound’ of gay travellers?

Then there is the issue of need. As one commentator pointed out, we may need to erect a blood wall to prevent the blood of gay men in the rest of the UK being imported for life-saving operations…

Now, as Mr Poots rightly points out there are some states of the USA and parts of Europe that have persisted in retaining a lifetime ban on homosexual donors, but there are a few problems in this. What are the risks of someone telling a lie when giving blood? What about bi-sexuals? What about those who had one ‘encounter’ and then led a life of celibacy – oops that’s another story.

We wonder how long he can maintain this stance – we’ve moved from the enlightenment of scientific practice and evidence that screens all donations for diseases, to one of blanket bans…tricky times at the blood bank. We just hope we don’t have to make any withdrawals from said bank if shortages ensue…

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