Tens of thousands took to the streets in Paris and Bordeaux yesterday to demonstrate against what they call the government’s “anti-family” policies. The protesters, including a mix of hardline Catholics and traditional conservatives, declared their opposition to assisted pregnancies such as IVF and surrogacy for same-sex families.
“Because the exploitation of women is intolerable; because the child is not an object; because all children need a father and a mother,” announced the group "Manif pour Tous" ("Protest for Everyone") as it called for people to come out and support “traditional family values”
The group, which waged a war against the adoption of same-sex marriage in France last year, target this time "medically assisted procreation techniques" for lesbian couples and surrogacy.
Two days before the rally, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls already announced that surrogacy "is and will remain banned in France". But this did not seem to pacify the marchers who carried banners reading: "No to surrogate mothers", "A woman is not a baby-machine", Humans are not a commodity”, “No to the demolition of the family”, etc,.
One pensioner told AFP: "The next stage will be to put children on shop shelves and we will choose the ones we like."
Surrogacy is a form of "industrialisation" and "modern slavery", judged another protester, 30-year-old Thibault.
French President, Francois Hollande, defied all protests mounted by "Manif pour Tous" last year and signed the controversial marriage bill into law. In May 2013, France became the 14th country worldwide to legalise same-sex marriage.
In order to counter the Manif Pour Tous protest, the "All Out" gay rights organisation has called for a demonstration "for equality of all couples and families".