After six months of interruption, the return of the bioethics bill

It is a bill that was to be emblematic of the five-year term of Emmanuel Macron. But debates, a parliamentary shuttle and a health crisis later, it was not until February 2, six months after its vote at second reading in the National Assembly, that the text revising the laws of bioethics returns to senators, to be considered at second reading. The special committee responsible for studying the text returned to work on January 13, hearing the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.

A text voted on before the summer?

The government did not choose, this time, to resort to an accelerated procedure, anxious to allow time for debate. To hear Olivier Véran, we nevertheless feel that, for the government, the debate around the bill has lasted too long. “I would like this text to be voted on before the summer”, said the Minister of Health at the start of the discussions, welcoming a bill “Bearer of new rights”. “Many families are waiting for him ».

→ THE FACTS. Bioethics: MPs adopt the bill after a marathon week

This text is the realization of a “Strong demand from society and a commitment from the government” added the Secretary of State for Children and Families, Adrien Taquet, also auditioned. However, Olivier Véran admitted: “We are on a ridge line between the possible and the desirable” : new rights and the non-denial of ethical values.

PMA, a key subject

If the research on the embryo or the pre-implantation diagnosis raised bursts of questions, the flagship measure of the law, the enlargement of the PMA, concentrated a large part of the questions of the senators. “Are we moving towards sexless procreation for all? “, asked for example Muriel Jourda, co-rapporteur (LR) of the text. Response from Olivier Véran: “I am not transhumanist but pragmatic. Often, the law gallops after society and confirms practices that already exist. Women in couples can now have access to assisted reproduction, as long as they have the money. And (this inequality) is unacceptable ” he hammered.

→ ANALYSIS. PMA, filiation, anonymity … what the bioethics bill contains

With this enlargement of assisted reproduction and the lifting of donor anonymity, is there a shortage of gametes to be feared? “We are just in time, answers Olivier Véran. Before adding: “But I do not believe that the new law reduces the available stocks. The countries which have implemented this measure have not observed it “, he assured, recognizing all the same that it will be necessary “Promote the gift”.

Father’s place and beginning of assisted reproduction

Over the course of the hearing, it was decidedly the PMA that continued to generate debate. Dominique de Legge, Senator LR points to what seems to him a « contradiction » between the observations evoking the place of the father in the child’s balance and the effacement of the same father who is the extended assisted reproduction? “No study has shown that the development of the child is impaired in a homoparental or single-parent couple. What counts is otherness ”, answer Olivier Véran and Adrien Taquet.

→ REPORT. At the salon Désir d’enfant, PMA and GPA instructions for use

On the reimbursement of assisted reproduction outside of any medical cause, a point raised by the Senate at first reading and reinstated by the Assembly at second reading? “It seems normal to me that social security pays for LDCs. I will defend this position ” warned Olivier Véran. Finally, to the question of knowing when the assisted reproduction courses accessible to single women and homosexual couples could be launched, Olivier Véran mentioned the end of 2021.

Next working meeting for the special committee: January 19, for an examination of the amendments tabled by parliamentarians. During the first reading in the Senate, in February 2020, the text of the bill, largely revised compared to the version of the Assembly, had only been adopted by ten votes. With the senatorial elections of September 2020, half of the hemicycle was renewed, which makes it difficult to predict the outcome of the vote.

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