France Fertility Riots: Setting a Shocking Precedent for the Rest of the World

Crowds of protestors approximated to be 75,000 strong stormed the streets of France in protest of a newly proposed bill that would legalize the access of fertility treatment to all women under the age of 43 regardless of sexual orientation or relationship status. Simultaneously, this bill would allow individuals, conceived using fertility treatment, over the age of 18 to attain information about their donor. The bill has been passed by the Lower House of Parliament and will reach the Senate later this month. If approved, this bill would mark the first major social reform since France’s 2013 legalization of gay marriage. In the intermedium, protestors, mostly religious and conservative based, have taken to the streets in opposition of the proposal. Many of these protestors argue that legalization of this bill would destroy the traditional family dynamic of France. Some even argue that they should not have to explain to future generations why some children do not have fathers. In response to this, a much smaller anti-protest was held. As the leading world-superpower, it is imperative that the United States stay informed and demand the proper resolution to the current uproar in France.

On October 6, 2019, French protestors rallied in an effort to convince the Senate to redact the controversial proposition. The initial hope was for a turnout of around 100,000 people. “‘It's not going to be derisory. It will probably be comparable to the first protest [against gay marriage] in 2012, with around 100,000 people,’ said Pascale Moriniere, president of the Association of Catholic Families (AFC). Her group distributed about 3 million flyers in protest of the law in recent weeks” (Deutsche). The protest accumulated about 75,000 individuals, significantly lower than 100,000 and that of the 2013 gay rights protest; however, this is still an alarmingly high number.

The protests were mostly organized by Roman Catholic officials and far right-winged conservative groups. In an effort to gather as many protestors as possible, “organizers had arranged for 110 coaches and two high-speed trains to bring people from all over France to the capital to demonstrate” (Nordstrom). These riots were highly publicized; and French citizens were strongly encouraged to participate. The message adopted and spread by the protestors was clear.

A major concern for protestors is the current precedent regarding the standard family dynamic in France. Many individuals fear that allowing non-heterosexual coupled women access to fertility treatment would negate the need for a father figure. One protestor, Christian Kersabiec, was documented by the BBC: “the family, with a mother and a father, is an ecosystem that needs protecting.” In advocation of their cause, many protestors adopted signs reading, “Who is My Father” and other, similar messages mimicking a child’s potential questions.

Unfortunately, the anti-protest, held by more left-wing pro-LGTBQ individuals, had an abysmal turnout. The number of the anti-protesters was pale in comparison to that of the right-wing conservatives. Due to a lop-sided sum of individuals, the anti-protest received severely decreased coverage. At best, the left-wing activists warranted approximately a sentence in most major reporting news articles. A lack of coverage on this scale leads to serious concerns regarding the future of the bill and the rights of lesbian and single women in France. A major world power, such as France, not legalizing this type of bill could have severe negative implications for the rest of the first and developing world.     

It would not take an exuberant amount of searching for individuals to notice the global reform currently griping society. A large portion of the world is currently in the midst of massive social reform for all persons and beliefs. The common theme surrounding this reform is simple, if the actions of one do not overly harm the physical or financial well-being of another, who is to say that the action should not be allowed? More directly, everyone should have access to equal opportunity; and not be discriminated against for any reason. The steps to this reform started centuries ago with outlawing slavery, continued through the civil rights movement, and presses on today with gender and sexual equality for all. The actions of France, in response to this bill, are paramount in setting precedent for the rest of the world that has yet to catch up with social reform.

Other first world countries including Britain, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States have already legalized fertility treatments for lesbian and single women. The actions of these countries have set an example as to how the first world is expected to act; and how the developing world must behave if it wishes to transcend its current state to receive a developed status. Should France fail to legalize the bill in question, it could wreak havoc for the rights of women all throughout the developing world.

By refraining from passing this bill into law, France effectively states that it is okay to not grant all women the same and equal rights in a first world country. There are many countries throughout the world where the rights afforded to women would appall any individual presiding in a country with natural birth-given rights. Several countries, specifically in the Middle East, are just now granting female citizens the right to drive. As delayed as it may seem, this victory for equality come better late than never; however, as these countries continue to progress, they will inevitably have to deal with questions like those currently posed in France. By failing to legalize this bill, every country with similar opposition will certainly cite France as an example to the appropriate nature of such mindsets. There only needs to be one instance of dissidence for the opposition to latch itself to. As a member of the developed first world, France has a responsibility to maintain and set an example that is aligned with the overarching beliefs of the first world.

The United States as a nation has an obligation to care about the well-being of others, even if those individuals are halfway across the globe. As the world’s leading superpower, the United States and her citizens must be willing to hold France accountable for her actions in regard to this bill. As a nation, America has maintained a precedent of standing up for the oppressed. The Civil War, MLK, WWII, gay rights, and feminism are all testaments to the United States intolerance of tyranny, bigotry, brutality and cruelty. The time is now to maintain that precedent and to continue to defend the rights of all peoples both foreign and domestic.      

The simple fact that a protest of this scale, regarding a topic such as this, transpired in the modern day, is a slight against society as a whole. In a world that is currently in the middle of social reform for the equality of all people, the existence and legalization of this bill is paramount not only for France but for international precedent. Gone are the days of religious control and stipulation within a government. All people have the right to opportunity that results in happiness. A single group of people has no right to infringe on the rights of others. Providing fertility treatment to lesbian and single women does nothing to harm those protesting it. Finally, the objection on the grounds of morality and ethics is not withstanding. The government was not designed to decide issues of morality. A governments purpose is to decide issues of efficiency. So, saying that legalization of this bill is morally wrong fails to constitute a valid argument. Who decides what is moral for others when the case at hand harms no one?