French Bioethics Bill Violates Children’s Rights

Just as France marks its 30th anniversary for signing the United Nations Children’s Rights Convention (UNCRC), Alliance VITA decries the country’s current bioethics bill which violates inherent protections established by this same international convention. 

Bear in mind that Article 7 of this Convention states: “The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to have a name, the right to have a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.”  Furthermore, Article 3 declares: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” The French government is on the verge of violating the convention with a bioethics draft law which would legalize the right to have a child without a father, thus systematically allowing an absence of any paternal reference immediately from birth, to the detriment of the child’s best interests and his well-being.

The revised text currently recommends abolishing the anonymity for gamete donations, which reflects the complexity of ART with third party donors, and the fundamental violation of human rights for children conceived via this procedure. This situation would be further aggravated by allowing ART for all women without a male partner. The fact that the law’s co-rapporteur, Jean-Louis Touraine has already pushed to allow national registration for children born abroad via surrogacy is an ominous foreshadowing that this practice of buying and selling women’s bodies and their babies will become legal in the future.

Alliance VITA defends the principles inherent in the UNCRC, in particular Article 35 which specifies that: “States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form.” The association also underlines the bill’s violation of article 23: “States Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.”

With a growing list of conditions which allow “medical” abortions, and increased prenatal screening for disabilities, France continues its current policy as “one of the most eugenic countries in the world ” according to Professor Didier Sicard, the former President of the French National Consultative Ethics Committee, rather than extending support to disabled individuals throughout their life.

Tugdual Derville, Alliance VITA’s General Delegate states :

“The future of humanity lies on our children. And the child is humanity’s most vulnerable citizen; the one most in need of protection. Thus, instead of being trampled upon, the child’s best interest has to take priority when faced with categorical and individualistic demands. A child cannot righteously be deprived of his father. And regarding the disturbing issue of eugenics, it’s like a family secret for the whole country. Nobody made a real decision, but life may only begin after passing an ultra-selective quality control process. The issue of abuse and neglect should be broadened to encompass the basic violation of human rights that have a major impact on how society functions. Because, if we do not give a place in society for our most vulnerable individuals, we will continue to grow more fearful of imperfections, infirmities, and frailties, especially when death is near. That’s why children’s rights are a concern for all of us, at every age of life. “

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