France: Tens of thousands protest in Paris against IVF and surrogacy for gays

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Tens of thousands of French protesters took to the streets of Paris and Bordeaux on Sunday, to demonstrate against assisted pregnancies and surrogacy, particularly for gay couples.

The adamantly anti-gay Manif Pour Tous (Protest for all) organised the demonstrations. The group became well known last year for organising sometimes violent, but ultimately unsuccessful protests against same-sex marriage last year.

Around a thousand police were in attendance at the Paris protest which went ahead despite assurances from Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who said surrogacy “is and will remain banned in France.”

Despite claims from the group that 500,000 took part in the demonstration in Paris, police said 70,000 were there. Similarly in Bordeaux, organisers claimed 30,000 attended, but official reports stated that the number was closer to 7,500.

The campaign claims surrogacy and IVF are anti-family, and some equated surrogate mothers to slaves. Others said the next step would be commercially producing babies, to allow gay and lesbian couples to take their pick.

Although the campaign, similar to demonstrations last year, is very vocal, recent polls suggest that less than a third of French voters agree with its sentiments.

A small counter-protest took place in Paris, but an AllOut petition had gathered over 200,000 signatures by the end of Sunday.

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