March for the Children: Blanche Streb’s Appeal

On October 6, in Paris, Blanche Streb, Alliance VITA’s Research and Training Director, and Spokesperson for March for the Children, declared at the massive citizen protest against the Bioethics bill:

“Science has made us gods, even before we are worthy of being men.”

United together behind a common cause, we began our march at Edmond Rostand Square. And I have just quoted his son, Jean Rostand: a biologist, an academician, and a feminist activist ahead of his time. And he criticized the technician society that he could see developing. He was aware that mankind was going to be overtaken and left behind. And that’s exactly what is happening today.

Supply creates its own demand. Techniques for creating and marketing human lives are at a fever pitch, and we let them take control of our laws and of our thinking processes. And the guinea pig in all this is nothing less than the human being.

Several articles in the bioethics bill can be summarized as follows: as long as there is a market for it, everything possible will be done to meet the demand:

  • Genetically-modified embryos, 3-parent IVF
  • Artificial gametes
  • animal embryos which contain human cells
  • A law to intentionally uproot children at birth to make them grow up without a father
  • Concocting embryos with implausible filiations no matter the cost, only regarding them as raw material for lab work.

Behind these debates and amendments lies a truly transgressive opportunism.

The government itself is being overrun by the machinery it has created.

This bioethics law opens up the field of absolutely all possibilities. Some want to standardize quality control measures for human beings, to facilitate surrogacy arrangements, to allow post-mortem ART, to allow ART for individuals who’ve changed sex, while others are already suggesting having multiple parents.

This law has turned into a huge bioethics “fair”; which is not surprising. When one ethical principle is toppled, the dominoes start to fall one after another.

To our MPs responsible for drafting and voting the bill that President Macron has labeled “the text of all dangers”: you cannot deny there are unjust consequences for humanity and society, both now and in the future. Stop downsizing man. Stop reducing him. Stop reducing men to spermatozoids. Stop reducing fathers to a set of data that children can consult once they reach the age of adulthood. Stop comparing a pregnant mother who gives birth to children to a female companion labeled “intended mother”. Stop reducing human beings to a genetic bar code, to be screened in vitro to judge which lives are worthy of being lived or not.

You have a reductive view of man and you use his powerful yearnings to squeeze your ideology into a few articles of a bioethics law, which is fading away to nothing.

You are totally missing the point regarding the magnificence of mankind and human life, but believe me, one day mankind will reclaim its rights.

Tomorrow, voices will call out:

  • What did you do to my father?
  • What did you do to my mother?
  • What did you do to my brother’s embryo?
  • What did you do to my body?
  • What did you do to my fertility?

You promised us a child, by saving oocytes in the bank, by mortgaging our maternity, but 3 out of 4 of us women will mourn our empty cradles, because you lied to us, simply to make a profit from our bellies.

Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians, in your temporary position of authority: a sustainable society cannot be founded on coexisting individual interests. A society can never become more humane if human nature and life itself are mistreated.

Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians, a quote from Jean Rostand resounds for you: “Do not act like demi-gods when you are only little charlatans”.

The fundamental principle of non-commodification of the human body and human beings is not ‘for sale’.

We can’t turn gratuitous procreation into an assembly line, becoming more and more artificial and profitable. We must protect human nature and human biodiversity. Vulnerability must be qualified as one of life’s inherent conditions. We must never forget that a child is not a right to be demanded, but a person to whom life is given.

We stand here with aplomb and self-confidence to demand that the laws which affect all of us, be laws to protect those who are the most vulnerable and to lead society towards real progress for humanity.

Progress for mankind’s benefit and not a progressive tumor which enslaves mankind.

This bill challenges our conscience, our vision of  the society we want to help create, our responsibilities.

Let no one turn a blind eye, since nothing that we will collectively lament tomorrow, will not have already been sown today.

Let us earn the respect of the generations to come, those for which we are already responsible.

It may be by understanding that “Every one of us is responsible for the others. And me personally more than all others” that we deserve to be men and women.

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