The Northern Irish health minister has ruled that the recently announced changes to blood donation rules, allowing gay men to donate for the first time, will not be implemented in Northern Ireland.

Edwin Poots, who may be familiar to Scrapbook readers as a self-described “opponent of evolution”, cited public safety regarding blood-borne diseases as the reasons behind his decision. But this flies in the face of the latest medical evidence, which concluded that the absolute ban could no longer be be justified.

Could the minister’s prejudice against gays have anything to do with his decision? Poots has previously made homophobic remakrs in the context of blood donation, suggesting in 2001 that homosexual blood donors would contaminate blood supplies with HIV. Also, as culture minister he made false accusations of discrimination against gay rugby team Belfast Titans, comparing the all-homosexual team to apartheid.

One wonders what evidence-based healthcare this “opponent of evolution” will be object to next.

  1. He said “all other European Union countries” would continue to operate a lifetime ban along with the US and Canada.

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