French PM Valls in surrogacy U-turn ahead of family-values demo

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls Reuters/Benoit Tessier

As hardline Catholics and family-values campaigners prepare to demonstrate in Paris this Sunday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has performed an about-face on surrogate motherhood, declaring that it will never be legal in France.


Surrogate motherhood “is and will be banned in France”, Valls told Catholic daily La Croix on Friday, describing it as “an intolerable commercialisation of human beings and commodification of women’s bodies”.

The Socialist prime minister admitted that he has changed his position on the question since 2011, when he described surrogacy as an “inevitable development”, saying that he was now defending the “values” and “principles” of France.

Valls also said that there would be no automatic recognition of parent-child relations to children born to surrogate mothers, despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling against France on the question.

And he said the government will wait for an ethical council ruling on reversing a ban on lesbian couples using assisted reproductive technology (ART) to have children.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, currently campaigning to lead the right-wing UMP party, on Thursday called for the constitution to be amended to restrict ART to “infertile heterosexual couples”.

The statements come ahead of Sunday’s demonstration by the Manif Pour Tous movement, which led the unsuccessful campaign against gay marriage.

The protest will call for the repeal of the same-sex marriage law but the campaign is now pushing several other demands, notably opposition to surrogacy, ART and “gender theory”, an alleged attempt to treat children as sexually neuter.

A counterdemonstration has also been called.

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