.- The French Senate this week passed a bill that would allow access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for single women and lesbian couples.
The bill passed 160-116 on Wednesday and is part of a larger bioethics law which cleared its first reading in the French National Assembly late last year.
The Senate voted against part of the bill that would have funded IVF through French social security. The National Assembly had approved that provision of the legislation.
Under the current law, IVF is only available to heterosexual couples who are unable to conceive or who may risk passing on a medical condition or sexually transmitted disease.
The new bill has been applauded by LGBT advocates.
“What was recognized to heterosexual couples must be recognized for homosexual couples,” said Socialist Party Senator David Assouline, according to Reuters.
When the bill passed the National Assembly in October, crowds of more than 40,000 people marched in a peaceful demonstration opposing the legislation.
The French Catholic bishops have staunchly opposed the bioethics bill since it was introduced six months ago. The Bishops’ Conference of France has compiled statements from 71 bishops on the subject.
The conference also issued a statement earlier in January titled “No one should treat another as an object.” The statement raises concerns that the bill prioritizes parents’ desire over the good of the child and paves the way for eugenics through preimplantation diagnosis and embryo selection.
“Not only is wanting a child without any genetic variant an illusion, but it would also dehumanize our humanity,” the statement from the bishops’ conference reads.
Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris, who practiced medicine and taught bioethics at a medical school prior to the priesthood, said the bill has potentially harmful consequences for the vulnerable.
“A child is a gift to be received, not an order to be manufactured. The absence of a father is an injury that can be suffered, but it is monstrous to inflict it on purpose,” said Aupetit in a Jan. 15 statement.
“For years, we have been committing ourselves ever further to a commercial drift of wealthy countries which afford the luxury of organizing a eugenic trade with the systematic elimination of the most fragile, the creation of transgenic embryos and chimeras,” he added.
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