2023 Alliance VITA Bioethics Conference “Living in the Real World” 3rd Session: “A World to Construct”


Some 8000 participants in the Alliance VITA Bioethics Conference gathered on 23rd January in 190 towns throughout France and abroad for the third instruction session titled “A world to construct”

Certain political choices transform society in depth. The legal evolutions in the bioethics domain modify how we consider the human embryo, the human body, the very meaning of vulnerability.

The human condition, which is marvellous and limited, the temporality of the human body, the female body in particular, are solid pillars for support when elaborating a society to be built.

Responsible for the “SOS bébé” help line for 12 years, Valérie Boulanger opened the session with a reflection on “Life in real time”. In view of the impression that time is accelerating, increases the need to control it. Both maternity and paternity are rooted in the long term and require the ability to project oneself with confidence into the future.

Having spent some 20 years listening to the distress and uncertainties associated with the welcoming of a child, Valérie has studied the realities which nowadays weigh heavily on maternity and paternity. “Their recognition, their confrontation is an essential condition for building the future.”

Doctor Laurine Escudier, a gynaecologist-obstetrician in hospitals extended the reflection around the temptation to stop time by addressing the question of self-conservation of oocytes. Since the 2021 Bioethics law, all women between 29 and 37 years of age may preserve their oocytes for no medical reason. Behind what is presented as a new right, Laurine Escudier questioned the promise of stopping the biological clock. Is it a dream or reality? She claims, “This technique is not any guarantee of maternity. One should not mislead women […] The true revolution would be to organise society to truly help women to have their babies at the height of their fertility.”

Next Blanche Streb, the Alliance VITA Director of training and coordinator of the Bioethics Conference looked at “The ways in which we perceive the reality of the human body and its place in the construction of our society.” The temptation for the modern man to be his own creator, feeds not only a double breakaway, from transcendence and from nature, but also the acceleration of technical progress, in particular in biotechnologies. “Man is not defined merely by his component parts […] Starting from the human condition one must determine the principles which construct our society: Man and Woman. Unique and singular. With their own particular times. In unity. Incarnate beings. Body-soul-spirit.”

The third session ended with a testimony by Axelle Huber. As a coach and therapist, Axelle accompanied her husband through the ordeal of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Charcot’s disease, through to his death in 2013 at 41 years of age. In a moving discussion with Blanche Streb, she described the route followed alongside her husband and denounced the misuse of Charcot’s disease by those who are promoting euthanasia and assisted suicide. “All life is beautiful because it remains a life even if it is difficult, even if it is fragile… instead of seeking how to legislate it would be better to see how to help sufferers.” Axelle Huber has written a book: If I can no longer walk, I’ll run, published by Mame.

In very many towns throughout France and abroad, the sessions concluded with local testimonies by doctors, carers, voluntary workers, help line listeners, parents etc.

The next and final session, on 30th January is on the theme “A future to weave”

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