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The Catholic Church and medically assisted procreation

A draft law on bioethics is being discussed since 24 September in the National Assembly. Its 32 articles include a measure concerning the extension of medically assisted procreation (MAP) to all women. More than 2000 amendments were discussed in the special committee; after this, the draft will be debated from 24 September in the National Assembly.
At a conference at the Collège des Bernardins in September, several bishops had expressed their disagreement with this bill. Several collectives, some of which had been formed during the demonstrations against the marriage of same-sex couples in 2013 (such as La Manif pour tous, Les Veilleurs, Alliance Vita, Les Associations familiales catholiques), others recently created such as the collective Marchons enfants, call for a demonstration against "MAP for all", the first demonstration was scheduled for 6 October.
After the conference, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, President of the French Bishops’ Conference, told journalists that any citizen concerned about the bill, Catholic or not, had the ’duty’ to demonstrate alongside the opponents (see the journal Liberation).
In the following days, the Catholic Church’s commitment to this social debate became less clear: the spokesman of the French Bishops’ Conference, Thierry Magnin, told the newspaper Le Parisien: "It is not up to us to call for a demonstration or to stigmatize those who will go". Although opposed to allowing all women MAP, the bishop of Evreux Christian Nourrichard does not call on Catholics to demonstrate. Other bishops have done so, however, including the Archbishop of Rouen Dominique Lebrun who also participated in the demonstration on 6 October 2019 in Paris.
The organisers announced that they had mobilised 600,000 people, but the independent counting firm Occurrence has counted 74,500, according to the newspaper La Croix. Marchons enfants calls for further demonstrations in December, January, March, May and June, at which time the scale and progress of the mobilization can be assessed.
After an intense but rather short debate, the draft bioethics law was adopted at first reading in the National Assembly on 15 October by 359 votes (114 deputies voted against and 72 abstained). It should be assessed by the Senate in January.

D 15 October 2019    AAnne-Laure Zwilling

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