Archbishop of Rennes Mgr Pierre d'Ornellas said such a decision could cause similar social divisions to the same-sex marriage vote in 2013

The Archbishop of Rennes has urged French president Emmanuel Macron not to “reawaken passions” on medically assisted procreation after an ethics panel said lesbian couples and single women should be given access to sperm donor techniques.

In an article in Le Monde, Monsignor Pierre d’Ornellas said it would be “regrettable for everyone if the President of the Republic and the government hastily make a decision that sparks divisions and reawakens passions” like same-sex marriage did in 2013.

In an announcement on Wednesday June 28, the National Consultative Committee on Ethics (CCNE) declared itself in favour of giving lesbian couples and single women access to medically assisted procreation, a procedure currently reserved to heterosexual couples.

In March, Macron said in an interview with the French Catholic newspaper La Croix that his “personal conviction is that we must extend medically assisted procreation in the name of gender equality”. He added that he “will respect the opinion of the CCNE and look at the debate in the society in order to act in a calm way.”

For Archbishop d’Ornellas “the CCNE report mentions two reservations which show the debate is far from over”. These are “the conditions of access and the feasibility” of allowing medically assisted procreation for all women and, in the case of single women, “questions about the possible consequences for the child.”