Relations Reporting on marriage, family, and sexuality

What adults want over what children need

Family | Pending legislation in France would let women intentionally create fatherless children
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 10/18/19, 01:45 pm

The lower house of the French Parliament overwhelmingly passed a measure this week that mandates the national healthcare system cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) for single women and lesbian couples. The current system allows assisted reproduction for infertile heterosexual couples only.

Proponents argue women have a right to bear children regardless of their marital status or sexuality, but French pro-family groups contend the new legislation treads on the rights of children by denying them a relationship with their father.

The National Assembly voted 359-114 on Tuesday to approve the measure, which was part of a broader bioethics bill. It gives all women in France under age 43 paid access to IVF, egg freezing, and fertility medication.

The legislation, part of a campaign pledge by French President Emmanuel Macron, now heads to the Senate for debate. If it passes, France will join 18 of 28 European Union countries that allow single women and lesbian couples to use donor sperm to create children.

Tens of thousands of opponents demonstrated in Paris on Oct. 6, chanting “Liberty, Equality, Paternity,” a play on the French motto, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”

“The family, with a mother and a father, is an ecosystem that needs protecting,” demonstrator Christian Kersabiec told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The conservative group La Manif Pour Tous (Protest for Everyone) argued the proposal makes fertility treatments a response to an adult’s desire for children instead of a treatment for medical infertility. Although the pending legislation would allow children conceived with donor sperm to learn their father’s identity after they turn 18—current law in France offers sperm donors strict anonymity—opponents stress that doesn’t solve the problem of children born and raised without any personal or legal connection to their biological fathers. (The law would allow birth certificates to list only a mother or two mothers.) They also contend the measure will eventually lead to the legalization of surrogacy in France, a natural next step when same-sex male couples argue they have a right to children, as well.

“I believe we are going too fast and we’re not thinking about the consequences of this law,” said demonstrator Monique Brassier. “We are heading toward a commercialization of the human being, a commercialization of procreation, and that scares me.”

The United States has no federal laws governing who can participate in assisted reproductive technology. Although states have traditionally established parentage by biology or adoption, some states are moving toward “intent-based parenthood” determined by who plans to raise the child regardless of their biological connection.

Another French group opposed to the measure, La Voix des Sans Père (The Voice of the Fatherless), denounced the legislation in a presentation before the UN Human Rights Council last month. The group’s president, Emmanuel Le Pargneux, pointed out that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states a child has the right from birth, as far as possible, “to know and be cared for by his or her parents.”

The proposed measure is an effort to “dominate life by controlling the whole process of procreation,” said Claire de La Hougue, a research fellow at the European Center for Law and Justice. She argued the legislation ultimately changes the foundation of parenthood, ignoring the interests of children to satisfy the desires of adults: “After wanting to separate sexuality and procreation to have sexuality without procreation, we now want procreation without sexuality.”

Associated Press/Photo by Rebecca Boone (file) Associated Press/Photo by Rebecca Boone (file) The Idaho State Correctional Institution

Sex-change surgery in prison

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week partially lifted a stay on a ruling that could force the state of Idaho to pay for sex-change surgery for a transgender inmate convicted of rape, the Idaho Press reported.

In August, the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of Adree Edmo, a transgender inmate who sued the state. Judges placed the ruling on hold while Idaho appealed to the Supreme Court, but attorneys asked the 9th Circuit last month to partially lift the stay so Edmo could undergo presurgical procedures. The court granted the motion on Oct. 10.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, contends Edmo does not need the surgery, which would waste taxpayer dollars. A prison psychiatrist testified last year that he did not recommend the surgery because Edmo, a convicted male rapist who identifies as female, had other uncontrolled mental health challenges, including depression and alcohol abuse. Other critics argue sex-change surgery is an ineffective and harmful treatment for gender dysphoria. —K.C.

Saving milk for babies

Breastfeeding moms in Northern California rallied last week to power their breast pumps and save their breast milk, which was threatened by Pacific Gas and Electric’s planned blackout in the region to help prevent wildfires. Lactation consultants at one Oakland hospital handed out free manual pumps. Women used adapters to pump in their cars, stored breastmilk in friends’ freezers, and bought dry ice to keep breastmilk cold in coolers, The New York Times reported.K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

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  •  John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Sat, 10/19/2019 12:12 am

    History is littered with the debris of social experiments which defied Biblical morality and standards. Those in future ages will surely shake their heads in astonishment at the efforts to intentionally create children without fathers.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Sat, 10/19/2019 06:23 am

    I understand your point but many are shaking their heads now, as the article illustrates.  Part of our problem is the impotence of the church.  Too many leaders are either afraid to speak up or, amazingly, don't see we have a responsibility to say anything.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Sat, 10/19/2019 12:05 pm

    The headline, “What adults want over what children need,” is unfortunately not completely accurate. Those individuals demanding the “right” to have children without fathers are not adults. 

    We seem to have a worldwide epidemic of immature non-adults (though of legal age) stamping their feet and demanding the ridiculous or the impossible. 

    On the other hand, those in France protesting against the decision to allow IVF for single women are on the sensible and adult side. (Not something I would normally expect from the French, I admit). 

    Children need two parents, but of course that is simply too sensible for many.