February 23, 2024

We need a “citizen’s bioethics”, say French parliamentarians

Open letter calls for Parliament to reassert control

While the UK’s fertility watchdog, the
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is in danger of tossed onto the
bonfire of the quangos, across the Channel in France, opposition is mounting to
creating a government agency with similar powers.

Six deputies in the national parliament
have signed an open letter calling for a “citizen’s bioethics”, “une bioéthique
citoyenne”. They claim that too much power has already been given to the
government’s biomedical agency. This should be rethought as parliament
deliberates over a new bioethics law.

“Bioethics is everybody’s business,”
they write. “Behind apparently complex debates, the most intimate aspects of
the life of every French citizen are at stake: parenting, fertility or even the
fight against serious diseases…

“We solemnly ask that during the
upcoming revision of bioethics laws the Parliament be confirmed in its duty to
control a priori decisions of the biomedical agency and be associated with the
development of regulations.” Parliament, they argue, should not surrender its
prerogatives in bioethics “so that the French are not dispossessed of their
conscience. Law, morality and progress are compatible”. ~ Le
Figaro, Nov 3

Michael Cook