At 16:45 on Tuesday, 16 July, 314 French MPs voted in favour of authorising embryo research under supervision versus 223 against. The legal and ethical upheaval that this entails is henceforth entrenched in French law, the debate having been "skipped through" or non-existent from the outset.
First and foremost, the radicals on the left, backed up by the majority, put forward sensible arguments which were nonetheless a far cry from reality: "In a few minutes [when voting], think of our fellow citizens who are sick and expecting/hoping for new treatments". Jean Leonetti was immediately on his guard: the authorisation to conduct embryo research in France will not lead to any new treatments being discovered, just like embryo research across the globe has led to nothing new in over 20 years. "Don’t think for one moment that people will be cured," he interjected when explaining the vote received by the UMP Group, not least because France has adopted " ethics dumping " with this bill, which has worried the opposition. Philippe Gosselin, UMP MP for the Manche Department immediately tweeted following the vote adopting the draft bill. Thierry Benoit, UDI MP for Fougères confirmed that this bill "may promote ethical blunders" and last, but not least, this vote has given in to an ideology, a "cajoling" of the left radicals by the majority and also under mercenary pressure from the pharmaceutical companies.
The Lejeune Foundation strongly condemned it in its press release. What MPs have actually voted on, i.e. that human embryos are presumed to be available, scientists no longer have to justify embryo research, surplus embryos are used as official laboratory materials and non-embryo research is sacrificed in financial terms, is merely the result of constant pressure from drug companies.
Although Mrs. Orliac, who presented the bill, endeavoured to stress that "ethical guarantees will be followed during embryo research", which remains supervised, members of the opposition have not been fooled and remain committed to fighting the ideology, regardless of public opinion, through to the bitter end. They will therefore be given the right to appeal to the Constitutional Council.
The general public can also continue to make its voice heard thanks to the European initiative "Un de Nous", “One of Us”, brought to France by Alliance Vita, the Lejeune Foundation, the AFC and CPDH. France currently has a petition with over 67,000 signatures opposing the financing of programmes that destroy human embryos.