Today, Sunday, January 20, there will be the annual "Marche Pour la Vie" (Walk for Life), organized by the anti-abortion organization called "30 ans, ça suffit" (thirty years is enough). The Catholic websites such as Le Salon Beige have been strongly urging everyone who is interested to go. Many religious leaders will be there. The walk begins at 2:30 at Place de la République in Paris, and will end at Place de l'Opéra.
One reason for the feeling of urgency among many Catholics is that the laws on bioethics are up for review in the coming year. This will include, not only abortion, but all bioethical issues such as cloning and embryonic stem-cell research.
Nicolas Sarkozy has thrown fuel on the fire of this controversial topic by appointing Simone Veil, the former minister of health responsible for the abortion law, to amend the preamble of the French Constitution. Earlier this month, Le Salon Beige posted this brief article:
The creation of a committee headed by Simone Veil, for the purpose of completing the preamble of the Constitution in response to the challenges of bioethics, remains the biggest blunder of Nicolas Sarkozy as this new year begins. Two things must be remembered:
- 2008-2009 will witness the revision of the laws on bioethics. Without any doubt, this revision will be influenced by the new preamble to the French Constitution to be worked out by Simone Veil's committee.
- Simone Veil favors the cloning of human beings. In 1997, the former minister of health and former president of the European Parliament, cosigned a manifesto that appeared in the Free Inquiry Magazine, entitled Declaration in Defense of Cloning and the Integrity of Scientific Research. This declaration considers man as an animal and insists that the integrity of scientific research not be hindered. As for the integrity of Man, we'll come back to that another time. (...)
I'm only guessing, but a lot of Sarkozy's sudden interest in the value of religion may be due to his need to pacify and reassure religious leaders in anticipation of a campaign on bioethics that is sure to displease them. Sarkozy, a "man of his times", will no doubt seek to increase funding for practices condemned by the Church.
A reminder that the preamble will also establish absolute equality between men and women (this means affirmative action) and "diversity" as a value of the French Republic (this also means affirmative action).
Definitely a story to follow...
Update: January 24 - Apologies for having misspelled Simone Veil's last name. Originally I had written "Weil". There was indeed a French philosopher named Simone Weil, and the two women, though totally different in ideology, are often confused.