On Tuesday, January 21, the Senate will begin its first reading of the bioethics bill passed on October 15 in the National Assembly.
The text to be debated was adopted by the special commission in charge of this project, chaired by Alain Milon, Senator LR du Vaucluse.
On the eve of this discussion, it is very difficult to know what will come out of the High Assembly. On the one hand, the Senate is mainly on the right – and could therefore amend the text in a “conservative” sense. On the other hand, the senatorial right is traditionally very “progressive”. To take an example that I followed closely, during the debate on the bioethics law of 2011, when the right-wing had around 30 votes more than the left, research on the embryo had been adopted at first reading with a majority also by 30 votes, which means that about a third of the senatorial right voted with the left.
Today, on the side of concerns, we can note that the president of the commission, Alain Milon, is not only favorable to the flagship measure of the text, the so-called “PMA (the French acronym for IFV) for all”, but also to surrogate mothers. It is not certain, moreover, that he gave up the idea that he had expressed to vote for the authorization of surrogacy during this discussion.
On the side of hopes, the president of the LR group, Bruno Retailleau, is notoriously hostile to “PMA for all” and, more generally, to libertarian drifts. One of the senators closest to him, Muriel Jourda, who was rapporteur for the special committee, defended an amendment to delete article 1 (the one on IVF for single women and for couples of women) and this amendment almost got adopted. It is therefore not impossible that it should be in public discussion – especially as many senators, more centrist than conservative but good lawyers nonetheless, are worried about the consequences of this measure for defining legal parentage. One of the spokespersons for this latest trend, Senator Philippe Bas, former Secretary General of the Elysée Palace, current chairman of the Law Commission, could thus tip the scales.
In short, the games are very open and the discussion in public session should, at the very least, show that we are very far from the consensus that the “progressives” believe to find in favor of these new attacks on family and the rights of the weakest.
Above all, it should be remembered that “PMA for all” is only one of the main issues of the text. There are many other concerns. In particular, there is the issue of the creation of chimeric embryos (some of which could even, in the current state of the text, be implanted in an animal uterus to give birth to monsters deliberately created by Folamour doctors). Butthere is also the issue of the very radical aggravation (for which the senate commission bears an overwhelming responsibility) of eugenics and genetic tracking of the disabled.
Nothing is settled yet, but it will need a strong mobilization of the French attached to the natural family and the defense of children to avoid the worst.