After a sprint of less than a week and bitter debates, the National Assembly adopted at second reading the bioethics bill and its flagship measure of opening of assisted reproduction to all women, in the night from Friday to Saturday.
The first major societal reform of the five-year term, the text, examined since Monday, was voted by 60 votes against 37 and 4 abstentions, to the applause of the majority. He has yet to return to the Senate, which may not happen until January 2021.
“The balance” of the text defended by the majority
In a tweet, Emmanuel Macron greeted “the commitment of parliamentarians, members of the government and the national consultative ethics committee” which, according to him, “allowed the adoption of a balanced text in a peaceful debate”.
It is “a reform eagerly awaited by our fellow citizens”, a “balanced text” with “major advances”, said Secretary of State Adrien Taquet at 3:40 am.
Leader of the majority group on this text, Aurore Bergé estimated, with AFP, that “the debates have managed to keep the height of view” initial. On a “crest line”, “we have found and maintained an ethical balance, whether it is on the recognition of children born abroad of surrogacy, or the opening of the assisted reproduction for all but not post-mortem”, she stressed.
In addition to the emblematic measure of the opening up of assisted reproduction to lesbian couples and single women, this bill provides for a delicate reform of parentage and access to origins, and tackles a number of complex subjects such as the self-preservation of oocytes or research on embryonic stem cells.
As in first reading, the text bristled a very large part of the right LR, wind up against the creation of “children without fathers”, seeing “one more step towards surrogacy”, surrogacy.
As a final push, the Manif pour tous released two bouquets of balloons in front of the Palais Bourbon bearing the inscription “Stop PMA”. During the night, the collective castigated the vote “on the sly” of this text and assured that its “determination” remained “intact” to challenge it.
A l’inverse, for the president of the LGBT GayLib association and member of the radical movement Catherine Michaud, this text is a “historic advance for the rights and freedom of women”. In his eyes, however, the law is “not completed. It is regrettable that trans people have been excluded” from assisted reproduction or the existence of a “specific form of filiation” for female couples.
The advances and setbacks of this second vote
Emmanuel Macron was nevertheless beaten on certain provisions. Against his opinion, the Assembly thus voted on Thursday by a very close ballot so that children born from donated gametes before the bill can also benefit from the new system of access to origins proposed by this text.
Also against the recommendations of the government, the deputies want to allow parents who wish to have access to “non-identifying” data (age, physical characteristics …) of the donor before the majority of their children.
At the same time, the Assembly rejected the so-called ROPA technique, ie egg donation in a couple of women for assisted reproduction, despite the plea of co-rapporteur Jean-Louis Touraine (LREM).
The left and elected members of the majority have also tried in vain to “remove the discrimination” suffered by homosexuals who want to donate blood, but must respect a sexual abstinence period of four months. The Minister of Health Olivier Véran has made a commitment to move forward by “regulatory means” on this subject.