On October 5th, French Health Minister, Agnès Buzyn, met with Jean-François Delfraissy, the new chairman of the ‘CCNE’ (National Consultative Ethics Committee) to reflect on the timetable for revising the bioethics law planned for 2018.

The current version of the bioethics law was voted on July 7, 2011.

It was voted that the law could be revised after 7 years.

Last September 13th, Mr. Delfraissy unveiled the major steps ahead concerning the law’s revision. The General Assembly is scheduled for the first half of 2018, followed by a bill in the autumn, in order to adopt a new legislative text by the beginning of 2019. From January 2018 onwards, major regional public debates are planned throughout France, organized by the local ethical departments of the Regional Health Agencies. A “citizen’s panel” may also be held to discuss the issues. Mr. Delfraissy intends to convene jurists and scientists, as well as representatives from various religions and associations. More specific details are expected following the meeting between the Health Minister and the Ethics Committee chairman.

Some worry that the debate will focus on extending the law to allow “medically assisted procreation” for female couples and single women. But many additional issues were not addressed in 2011, such as human genetic modifications with the CRISPR-Case9 technique, the use of “Big Data” for medicine or for artificial intelligence, and in a more general manner, transhumanism.