France to legislate on assisted reproduction: spokesman

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government wants to give lesbian couples and single women access to assisted reproduction, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, setting the scene for a major extension of gay rights under new President Emmanuel Macron.

Spokesman Christophe Castaner said the government would not rush the issue and would aim to build a consensus. France saw often-violent protests leading up to the legalization in 2013 of marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.

Castaner said Macron had promised to pursue the issue once an influential ethics panel made its view known, and that the goal now would be to legislate on the matter.

French law currently restricts techniques such as artificial insemination using donated sperm to heterosexual couples.

The National Consultative Committee on Ethics (CCNE) said on Tuesday it was in favor of extending medically assisted procreation to female couples and single women.

The recommendation was welcomed by gay rights groups but condemned by a group which spearheaded the protests against gay marriage.

“It’s important to seek the broadest possible consensus and avoid overly dogmatic stances that would pitch people against one another,” Castaner told a weekly news conference.

“But our objective is to transform the view of the CCNE into legislation.”

Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Roche