July 29, 2021

The Constitutional Council validates the provisions on research on the embryo

By admin2020

With this decision, the Wise Men are paving the way for an imminent promulgation of the text

Research on the embryo.  (drawing)

© Mark Schiefelbein / AP / SIPA
Research on the embryo. (drawing)

SCIENCES – By this decision, the Wise Men pave the way for an imminent promulgation of the text

The provisions of the bioethics law concerning research on human embryos and embryonic stem cells, but also on the donation of gametes and the information of parents during the performance of prenatal examinations were deemed “in conformity with the Constitution” by the Wise Men. This decision of the Constitutional Council follows the appeal lodged by more than 60 opposition LR and UDI deputies after the adoption of the bioethics law in Parliament June 29.

They challenged in particular a provision of article 20 which provides that research on the human embryo and embryonic stem cells can henceforth be carried out not only for medical purposes but also to “improve knowledge of human biology”. For the deputies authors of the appeal, this article does not sufficiently define the concepts mentioned and does not set enough limits, opening the door to eugenics. The Constitutional Council rejected these arguments. He considers that the term “human embryo” was “not imprecise” and considers that this research, subject to authorization or declaration to the Biomedicine Agency, “does not derogate from the ban on eugenic practices”.

“The insertion of human cells into an animal embryo” still prohibited

The Sages also did not consider admissible the criticism of article 23 of the law on bioethics, which replaces in the public health code the wording “the creation of transgenic or chimeric embryos is prohibited” by “the modification of a human embryo by adding cells from other species is prohibited ”, removing from the law the ban on transgenic embryos.

In its decision, the institution underlines that “the contested provisions allow the creation of transgenic embryos only within the framework of research on the embryo surrounded by effective guarantees” and continue to prohibit “insertion of human cells into an animal embryo “. Also, they do not contravene the constitutional principle of safeguarding the dignity of the human person, she concludes.

Articles 3 and 25 remain unchanged

The Constitutional Council also rejects the arguments against article 25 of the law, which conditions the agreement of the pregnant woman with the information of the other member of the couple on the results of prenatal examinations, judging that this “difference of treatment (…) is based on a difference in situation ”.

Finally, he rejects the appeal concerning article 3, which regulates the donation of gametes. The requesting deputies argued that these provisions would allow all persons placed under guardianship or guardianship to make such donations, but another article of the law, Article 11, provides that persons of full age who are subject to a measure of legal protection cannot do so, the Wise Men point out.