Right now, the only people who can access artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization in France are heterosexual couples who have been living together for at least two years, prompting many to pursue the procedures outside the country. But on Wednesday, the government of President Emmanuel Macron sent parliament a draft law that would allow lesbian couples and single women to obtain the treatments as well.
The move to treat women as...humans...is likely to be met with strong resistance from the Marine Le Pen far-right, which has a rich history of riotous upheaval on issues related to human rights. According to Reuters:
The bioethics bill, which would also allow women to freeze their eggs for reasons other than medical to enhance their chances of having children, is the first major societal reform by centrist President Emmanuel Macron. It was delayed while anti-government “yellow vest” protests roiled the country. Only six years ago, former President Francois Hollande’s legislation allowing gay marriage faced strong opposition in a country where the influence of the Catholic Church was thought to have been in decline.
Though Le Pen has already called for a referendum, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told reporters that “this is no longer an issue over which the French want to fight,” adding that “All the studies show children born to gay couples or raised by single women have no particular difficulties.”
Indeed, the issue of lifting the ban has been on the table for awhile. In 2017, France’s National Consultative Ethics Committee ruled that access to assisted reproduction should be expanded to single women and lesbian couples; the bill was tabled for fear it would spark mass protests à la 2013.
Opponents of the law are already preparing their arguments. As one lawmaker, Agnès Thill put it:
“Men are reduced to gametes,” said Ms. Thill, referring to a cell in the fertilization process. “We are crossing a red line.”
She seems to be saying that like it’s a bad thing. What else you got? From Reuters:
“There is no right to having children,” the party’s vice-president, Jordan Bardella, told LCI television. “Children have a right to have a father and a mother and this law creates children without fathers.”
Lawmakers will debate the bill in September. Despite the, um, powerful arguments made above, it is expected to pass.