Senate Health Law, landmark steps for serious ethical implications

The Health bill currently being debated in the Senate contains measures with serious ethical implications, especially those which further trivialize abortion, or those which facilitate research on embryos, and organ removals. The most emblematic provision is the elimination of the one-week delay period between two medical appointments before having an abortion.

Most of these measures were introduced by amendments during the discussion at the National Assembly, in March-April 2015, and thus without studying the impact or having a real public debate.

The Senate Commission for Social Affairs carried out in July an in-depth work to balance out and simplify the text, particularly by eliminating those controversial initiatives on abortion, embryo research and organ donation, and by proposing that these subjects be discussed in a future “bioethics law”.

The senators began public sessions from September 13 th-18th to examine the bill’s articles, based on the text voted by the Commission. They reintroduced two of the most important measures concerning abortion, namely the elimination of the one week delay for abortion (article 17 bis) and ability given to heath centers to practice surgical abortions (article 16 bis).

From September 28th to October 1st, the senators will pursue their work. In particular, they will be examining three other measures, all aiming at even more facilitating access to abortion: enabling midwives to practice medication abortions (article 31), the consolidation of the right to information on abortion methods, and the creation of regional action plans concerning abortions (article 38). Also to follow, the complicated question allowing research on gametes and transferable embryos (article 37) as well as the modification of the procedure for organ removal (article 46 ter).

The final vote is scheduled for next Tuesday, October the 6th.


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