French Senate passes bill on IVF for single women, lesbians
The French Senate has passed a controversial bill that allows single women and lesbian couples to gain access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
The bill is part of major social reform promised by French President Emmanuel Macron when he ran for the top position in 2017.
French Senate passes IVF bill
The bill is part of the larger bioethics law that cleared its first reading in the National Assembly last October.
While Micron’s centrist party has a majority in the National Assembly, it is outnumbered by Les Républicains, the right-wing party in the Senate. Despite this, the IVF bill passed 160-116 in the upper house.
However, the senators didn’t allow an article approved by the lower house to allow IVF to be reimbursed by the French social security.
In France, medically-assisted reproduction like IVF is available only to opposite-sex couples even as it is available to women in countries like Britain, Belgium, and Spain.
Likewise, France only allows this to be used for reasons of infertility or against the risk of transmission of disease or medical condition to the child or parent.
IVF bill to recognize LGBT couples
More than just giving single women and lesbian couples a chance to have a child, the bill would also push for greater LGBT rights, according its proponents.
“What was recognized to heterosexual couples must be recognized for homosexual couples,” said Socialist party senator David Assouline.
While gay marriage was legalized in France six years ago, it also sparked massive street protests.
Likewise, opposition to the bill is part of the opposition to the bioethics law, which some have said will legalize surrogacy, which many among LGBT couples favor to become parents.
Presently, surrogacy is considered illegal in France even as surveys have shown the public’s support for bioethics reform.
Republicans Senator Pascale Bories said Macron “did not have the courage to do a referendum on this issue because debates transcend political parties.”
French Senate and surrogacy
The issue of surrogacy in France is considered a hot-button issue, with demonstrations held against the bioethics bill.
Because of this, the opposition-controlled Senate is intent to block any movement to allow it.
Républicains Senate leader Bruno Retailleau even asked for an amendment in the bill during committee hearings to prohibit surrogacy in France.
However, their opponents cited the bias in the bill for heterosexual couples to provide them with government assistance while single women and lesbian couples are denied this.
France’s health minister, Agnès Buzyn, had expressed her support for total coverage for medically assisted procreation, regardless of the circumstances.
Likewise, Senator Laurence Rossignol, who is part of the Socialist group said they voted against “this punitive and unjust right-wing amendment.”