March for the Children: Caroline Roux’s Speech

In Paris, on January 19, 2020, Caroline Roux, Alliance VITA’s Assistant General Delegate, spoke at the massive citizen protest movement against the bioethics bill, organized by “March for the Children”. 

 “If we are here today, braving the cold, some travelling from long distances, it is not to promote our self-interest.

We are here today to defend the most vulnerable, and a world where human biodiversity is welcomed as an opportunity.”

This bioethics law affects all of us, and it will have a strong impact on our future generations.

Just as we gradually become aware of the damage inflicted on the environment, this law is ruining the very first ecological principle: that of protecting human nature and human biodiversity.

Our parliamentarians are currently discussing ‘progress’ in relation to motherhood, fatherhood, disabilities and human life. It is essential to make a distinction between real progress, and discrimination and injustice.

Should we call it progress when paternity disappears behind artificial procreation techniques?

Should we call it progress when man’s role is just to supply gametes and when children are deliberately deprived of paternal filiation?

Should we call it progress to resort to artificial and overmedicated maternity, imposing hormonal treatments on women without any medical reason whatsoever? Should we call it progress to encourage women to have their oocytes frozen to achieve motherhood, an illusory promise which can never be guaranteed?

Should we call it progress to turn a blind eye to the violations of the law implied by the commodification of the body of foreign surrogate mothers?

Should we call it progress to “pinpoint anomalies” and to eliminate vulnerable people rather than welcome them and try to find treatments for them?

Some have attempted to limit our freedom of speech. There is no debate but intimidation instead. This is insufferable. And we shall not surrender.

Society will progress provided that paternity and men are respected, provided that maternity and women are respected, provided that differences and vulnerability are respected.

Human beings are not machines, nor objects with price tags, to be bargained or thrown away.

Should we call it progress when the human embryo – and at one time all of us were human embryos – is used as raw material for the lab, to be genetically modified, to create chimeras by combining its cells with animal cells, or even used to produce artificial gametes?

Should we call it progress when human integrity is no longer respected, and scientists are allowed to play God?

We request that the precautionary approach, which is rightly applied to the environment, be applied first and foremost to protecting the human being.

By blowing the whistle on these essential issues, we are pioneers.

We are pioneers for a world in which human beings as well as the environment are protected.

Don’t be mistaken. If our march started Place de la Resistance today, the idea is not to retreat. We shall go forward.

The government must stop this bill, which is against human dignity and human rights.

We ask our parliamentarians to stand firm and voice their opposition to this law which, as it stands, does not deserve to be called ‘bioethical’.

They have an enormous responsibility: for now, and for the generations to come. And it is our responsibility as well.

Your presence here today is a wonderful opportunity, as is the support of those following us all over France.

Regardless of the final results, we mustn’t forget that we are actors in our society. We shall not surrender. Our fight against injustice and discrimination will never end.

Progress means a genuine human ecology in bioethics.

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