Surveys and Bioethics: Wide Variations


Polls reporting totally opposing viewpoints have been published within the past few months on allowing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) donations to be made to single women or same-sex couples.
On January 3, 2018, the IFOP survey question was: “Would you be in favor of artificial insemination (also known as ART) for single women or homosexual female couples who wish to have a child?” The results reported 60% of the French in favor of ART for homosexual women couples and 57% favorable for single women.
In the September 2017 OpinionWay survey, the question was formulated differently: “In your opinion, should the state guarantee children conceived through assisted reproductive technology (ART) the right to have a father and a mother? This poll reported that 72% of the French believe the State must guarantee children born by ART the right to have a father and a mother.
It is obvious that the formulation of the questions greatly influences the answers. In the first question, “the interest of the child is masked” says Tugdual Derville, Alliance VITA’s general delegate. As well as the interest of men who are regarded as if they were only worthwhile for gametes.
The same January 3, 2018 IFOP survey published by “La Croix” shows 64% in favor of surrogacy. In the interest of children and women, heightened awareness is needed urgently in order to stimulate a genuine and reasonable debate, when we know that the surrogate mother system is such a serious transgression of human rights.
This is reminiscent of the considerable differences in end-of-life and euthanasia survey results, which were criticized in an April 2017 broadcast of “Envoyé Spécial” in a lengthy analysis which proved how questions may be biased.
In bioethics, “the reality, however, is more subtle and the questions are always more complicated than they seem at first glance,” emphasizes Jean-René Binet, a law professor, in a editorial entitled “Surveys mustn’t invent laws”.
Will the French National Bioethics Committee be ready to tackle humanitarian issues at their upcoming convention on January 18?
Alliance VITA’s priority is to protect human life and dignity. We are  committed to offering our expertise and speaking out for those who are the most vulnerable.

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