French protests against IVF treatments for single women, lesbians

October 2019 DW; Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris on Sunday in protest to a government bill which allows single women and lesbians to become pregnant with fertility treatments.

If passed, the women would receive access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and related fertility procedures.

The demonstration began outside the Senate, where the law is headed this month, and continued to the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper.

Left-wing and pro-LGBT+ rights groups held a counter-protest. Police cordoned off a number of streets in Paris in case of violence. 

Organizers had hoped around 100,000 people would turn up for the rally led by Roman Catholics and some 20 other mainly conservative groups. They chartered two-high speed TGV trains and around 100 buses to bring more protesters to Paris. About 74,500 people took part in the rally, Franceinfo reported, citing the research company Occurrence, which had counted the participants.

“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.

‘Who is my father?’

Opponents of the proposed law claimed children require a paternal figure and that without one the traditional family structure would be undermined. Opponents also fear that the law will soon encourage the legalizing of surrogacy, including for gay men.

Demonstrators held signs that read ‘Who is my father?’ and signs featuring a cartoon of a pregnant woman and the caption, “To rent — soon in France?”

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