At least 42,000 people protested in Paris on Sunday against a bill that would allow single women and lesbian couples access to IVF. Many French bishops have spoken against the bill.
Police said there were 42,000 at the October 6 protests, while media-funded researchers estimated 74,000, and organizers 600,000.
Speaking at the protest, former legislator Marion Maréchal said the French government is seeking “to voluntarily deprive a child of a father or to transform him and the mother who carries him into a consumer product.”
Organizers of the protests said the move would weaken the family and thus society, and that it is unjust “to authorize the manufacture of children voluntarily deprived of a father.”
Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris has said that the bill “touches on the most essential foundations on which our human societies are built: filiation, the non-commercialization of the human body, respect of all life from its conception until its natural death, the best interest of the child, a philanthropic and non-commercial medicine, a human ecology where the body is not an instrument but the place of the edification of the personality.”
And Archbishop Eric de Moulins d’Amieu de Beaufort of Reims, president of the French bishops’ conference, commented: “I’m afraid we are going down a very dangerous path.”
The bill passed the National Assembly last month, and will soon be considered by the Senate.
In France, IVF is now restricted to men and women who are married or have cohabited at least two years.
The bill would make women under 43 eligible for artificial insemination and four rounds of IVF treatment fully covered by French health care. According to the Washington Post “women in their mid-30s would also get coverage for egg freezing.”
It would also allow all children conceived through IVF to discover the identity of their biological father.
Last month, the National Academy of Medicine said in a report on the effort to revise bioethics law that while a woman’s desire for maternity is legitimate, “the deliberate conception of a child deprived of a father is a major anthropological break that is not without risks for the psychological development of the child.”
President Emmanuel Macron included the expansion of IVF provision in his 2017 campaign.
Introducing the bill, health minister Agnès Buzyn said, “the criterion that defines a family is the love that unites a parent and child.”
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