On June 7, 2021, the Bioethics bill returned to the public session for the third reading in the French National Assembly. Once passed, it will be examined by the Senate on June 24, 2021, and in the National Assembly thereafter. The bill concerns access to ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) for all women, including single women and lesbian couples who are currently still excluded from this right in France. However, in other European countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium the bill has included these people for some years now.

This Bioethics bill, if passed, would extend access to ART to more than just heterosexual couples. It would also allow free access to ART, since the procedure would be covered by social security the same way it is or heterosexual people. This as put forward by the Association the Rainbow Children, a Parisian Association that accompanies LGBT people in their parental journey.

Moreover, this bill would deepen Gender Equality in France. As a representative from the “the Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and Future parents” explained to Global Green News, ART for all “allows equality for many lesbian and single women, and it allows projects in France regardless of income level. In addition, the bioethics law is providing for the opening of the ART includes a new mode of establishing filiation between a woman cut and their child”.

It has now been around ten years that access to ART for all women is on topic of the French Political and Social scene. Campaign promises from the French president Emmanuel Macron in 2017 regarding ART have subsided with the prevalence of the Pandemic. The ‘Association of the Rainbow Children’ told Global Green News that after many years of waiting, they expect “the government to finally keep its commitments and therefore that the law is finally enacted.”

The Political Party “Ecologie les Verts” expressed in a press release on June 9, 2021, they are pleased with the opening of ART for all. They noted however the worrying limits of this bill. In the bill as it stands; transsexual men remain excluded, separate filiation for female couples remains in measure and the protection of intersex children is weak. The AGLP declared in a press conference what they expect from the French government; “We ask the Government and the Parliamentarians to review their copy so that finally the laws of Bioethics do not devote any more discriminations of another time and that every citizen is treated in right in the respect of his person without discrimination because of his sex, of his sexual orientation or of his gender identity”.

They explained to Global Green News that the exclusion of transgender people is not justified;

“It is transphobia,” they said. “As for the method of establishing filiation proposed by the current text, it is reserved for female couples, another discrimination, and it forces the registration of the use of ART on the birth certificates of children. They do not have to be marked in this way! Their mode of conception must remain private. We have always demanded that homosexual couples benefit from the current law applied to other couples”.

More than a year after the beginning of COVID-19 in France, demonstrations for the rights of women and lesbians in France have began again. On April 25, the day of lesbian visibility, a large procession of between 4,400 and 10,000 people filled the streets of Paris to protest. For the adoption of free access to ART for all, “Macron hypocrite, lesbians go to Belgium!” was one of the slogans taken up by the crowd. Despite the noise caused by the protests, French LGBTQ+ Pro-ART organizations told Global Green News that the protests did not contribute much to the bill’s passage in the Senate. “The protests had little impact on the government, it didn’t change anything in the initial text,” the AGLP said. The Rainbow Children pointed to the underlying pressure of the 2022 presidential elections. “I think the government wants to keep its commitments before effectively entering the period leading up to the presidential elections,” a representative from the association told Global Green News.

Access for all to Medically Assisted Procreation stirs debate in France. According to the Rainbow Children, opponents of ART for all include the organizations ‘Manif pour tous’ and ‘jurists for childhood’.” This is often linked to the religious culture of France and the construction of norms around patriarchy,” the organization told Global Green News. On the other hand, the AGLP explained to Global Green News that the major opponents of ART for all are “religious extremists and far-right politicians” while “studies show that the majority of French people are in favour of ART for all.”

The Greens of France have supported the opening of assisted reproductive technology for all by fighting for equality of sexes and genders. However, the AGLP told Global Green News that their organization has not been in direct contact with the party. At the European Union level, shared agreements might be useful. However, the AGLP explained to Global Green News that “Europe does not discuss this subject, the legislations are national, but we are currently asking the European Union to encourage member countries to recognize same-sex families.

Eva Julia van Dam

Hi! I am a Franco-Dutch student living in Montréal. Just graduated with a Bachelor degree in Political Science from McGill University, I have taken an interest throughout my studies in Journalism. I've worked with the McGill Tribune, the Bull & Bear and recently collaborate with La Gazette des Femmes in Quebec City. I have also been an associate editor with the McGill Historical Discourse. My areas of interest are international relations, cultural diplomacy, feminism and gender studies, environmental issues and journalism - I love to write, learn and grow and I'm exicted to work with Global Green News.

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