Alliance Vita have organized "Université de la Vie", a series of five evenings to discuss issues relating to the sanctity of life. Last night was the first evening, held at the Athenée Municipal in Bordeaux.
In theory the addresses were to be given by video-relay from Paris, but they very wisely had recorded films of the speakers as a backup. These were used.
I went along to have a good chance to listen to good formal French as well as to see how the issues are addressed in a French context.
It was a good evening.
One thing struck me as a big cultural difference with the way UK folk addressed these things, at least up until 2005 when we left. The speakers talked of expectant mothers and a stage they go through after discovering they are pregnant when they begin to speak to the child that they are carrying. As if they "adopt" or "appropriate" their own child, accepting the child they are carrying. Before this stage mothers are far more likely to terminate the pregnancy than they are once they have started addressing the unborn child.
Perhaps related to this was another phenomenon which fits well into the way French people talk and see their lives - the parenthood project (project parental). French couples apparently think of having a child and construct for themselves a parenthood project. To British ears this sounds almost meaningless, but in France we're always asking each other "Quels sont tes projets?" and speaking about our "projets personnels". "J'ai un project de partir en vacancies aux Etats-Unis", one might say.
The speaker asked whether it is legitimate to reduce the foetus to the status of a projet parental. If the foetus fits the project, great. If not... Well.