Government line on ban with exceptions
France says no to embryonic research
A positive turnaround in France on a controversial draft law on bioethics. The amendment on the possibility of regulated research on embryonic stem cells, supported by left-wing parties and opposed by the government was rejected yesterday by the Senate, during a second reading.
During a preliminary examination held in committee on Monday, the discussion focused on article 23 of the proposal: the senators had decided to modify the text by taking out the ban on research thereby allowing the possibility of the principal of regulated research to pass. Nonetheless, on Thursday at the end of a particularly tense public hearing, the Assembly of Palais Luxembourg decided to reject the change to the law approved by the commission and to adopt the amendment presented by Jean-Claude Gaudin, President of the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement), which re-establishes the principle of a ban with exceptions, which is the line espoused by the Executive as well as the Archbishop of Paris and President of the French Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Andre’ Vingt-Trois. The vote sanctions the definitive text of the law.
Among the most important points of the proposal are the enlargement of the living donor pool; anonymity in the donation of gametes; a ban on the transfer of an embryo post-mortem; and the decision to provide only heterosexual couples with access to medically assisted procreation. Two relevant points still remain undecided: the principle of a possible revision of the law every five years and the conditions of prenatal diagnosis. A mixed commission will be responsible for deciding these questions.
At the same time as the no on embryonic research was reached, a proposal for homosexual marriage was also rejected. The government, in fact, was opposed to the proposal presented by the socialist opposition.
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