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Bioethics and assisted reproduction for all: new adoption at the Assembly, the outcome is approaching – France


The outcome is approaching: on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, the National Assembly adopted for the third time the bioethics bill and its flagship measure of the PMA for couples of women and single women, despite strong opposition from elected from the right.

MEPs supported the text by 84 votes to 43 and 3 abstentions. The Senate, hostile to the main measures of the bill, will examine it one last time on June 24, before leaving the last word to the Assembly on June 29.

Couples of women will be able to “enroll in assisted reproduction courses from the start of the school year,” promised the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, while LGBT associations and single-parent families have regularly protested against the delay taken by the law, probably the the only major social reform of the five-year term.

Debates that go round in circles

Launched in the fall of 2019, its review was hit by the covid crisis and hampered by differences between senators and deputies. At the Palais Bourbon, the majority worked to restore the main measures of the text, starting with medically assisted procreation (PMA) for all women, reimbursed by Social Security.

The most opposed to the law, such as LR Anne-Laure Blin, Xavier Breton or Patrick Hetzel, as well as the unregistered and close to the RN Emmanuelle Ménard have not disarmed, by multiplying the deletion amendments.

Like the Manif pour tous, they denounced “the disappearance of the father” and an “inevitable slide” towards surrogacy (surrogacy, by surrogate mother), despite the government’s assurances on its hostility to surrogacy, “Impassable red line”.

Discussions often similar to those of previous readings took place. “The energies are running out of steam a little” by dint of “rehashing”, agreed the socialist Gérard Leseul, co-rapporteur.

MEPs again rejected post-mortem medically assisted reproduction (ART), with gametes from a deceased spouse, or opening ART to transgender men.

Even rejection of egg donation in a couple of women (a technique known as ROPA), which some on the left and at LREM supported to allow “to link the two women to the unborn child”. When the right and the UDI castigated an “illusion of double motherhood” and a sprain “to important ethical principles”.

In addition to the opening of the PMA, the government plan provides for a delicate reform of parentage and access to origins. When they come of age, children born to assisted reproduction will have access to non-identifying data (age, physical characteristics, etc.) of the donor and, if they wish, to his identity.

In the future, a sperm donor will have to accept that his identity may one day be revealed to the child born from this donation.

The text deals with a number of complex subjects such as the self-preservation of oocytes or research on embryonic stem cells.

Surrogacy abroad

It also gave rise to a bitter debate on the recognition of the filiation of children born to surrogacy abroad, a very sensitive subject.

The deputies opted for a more restrictive device than the jurisprudence of the Court of Cassation, to the chagrin of LGBT associations and certain elected officials, on the left or in the majority. The bill provides that the recognition of the filiation of a surrogacy (surrogacy) abroad is “assessed under French law”.

The LREM would like to correlate the measure with a bill from MP Monique Limon, allowing non-biological parents to have their parentage recognized through adoption.

LRs like Annie Genevard accused the government of “doing nothing” against surrogacy, “a despicable practice”.

“The government is against surrogacy, but you cannot prohibit couples from using it” abroad, retorts Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti. And “we need a check”, when the “children arrive.” This control, the Court of Cassation said + we do not exercise it. I say that it is essential “to avoid” the vacuum and the penalization of children “, he insisted.

In the final minutes, the Assembly supported an amendment to the Caroline Fiat BIA, so that health and research establishments undertake to respect the “dignity” of the bodies entrusted to them. A measure linked to the scandal of the center of the University of Paris-Descartes on the “indecent conditions” of conservation of the remains, revealed in the press in 2019.

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