Seventeenth January 1975. That day will stay in the memories of French citizens for a long time. It has also been a key date for the French feminist movements. Indeed, on the 17th of January 1975, the minister of public health, Simone Veil, successfully legislated a law decriminalising abortion. This law, which signaled a change in the law as well as in the mentalities, was the result of an enormous amount of work, of protests, of changes, of public debates. And even when it was voted in 1975, all mentalities had not changed. Many changes came after, indicating that the mentalities on this very sensitive issue could still evolve. Let’s try to trace the history of abortion in France to understand the issues it raised, before and after the passage of the law.
A quick history of abortion in France
To start, here is a little chronology of the events.
In 1920, a law was passed, criminalising abortion and contraception, which were considered an outrage to life and an insult to morality. It is important to know that Catholics were the majority in the population at the time, so the doctrine of the Church and this consideration of life as something sacred was a part of a commonly shared moral.
Under the Vichy Regime, during WW2, abortion was considered a “Crime against the state, punishable by death penalty.” But in the fifties, more and more movements claimed an access to free and legal abortion, in many European countries. The taboo of abortion started to be broken, at least in the public debate, but was still not enormously publicised, or at least not enough to make an important difference.
The fifties and sixties: a rising awareness of the problem
In the fifties, a medical discovery, in the United States brought to light the question of women’s freedom to control their own bodies: the oestrogen-progestin hormone, leading to the contraceptive pill. Indeed, this discovery brought to the French public debate the question of whether or not women should be able to be in control of their fertility, and to choose to have kids or not. It also questioned the fact of separating the sexual act and procreation. At that time, and until 1967, when contraception was legalised in France, those subjects were in the public debate, questioning life in a very philosophical way. It also questioned how women were considered, and the possibility of society to accept that women are not meant only to procreate but rather could choose when (or when not) and how they want to have children. The Neuwirth law, in 1967, aims, in a pragmatic way, to replace an outdated law, that didn’t correspond to the practices of the time. This law was really the first step towards the decriminalisation of abortion as it lay the foundation of the freedom for women to control their bodies, as well as the issue of life. It was for many women the first step of taking full control of their bodies. One of my interviewees, Janine, who was a young adult at that time, confided to me that to her, contraception and the pill were the biggest change for women.
« Voilà, pour moi je crois que le plus, enfin, le plus important ça a été la contraception. La contraception c’était quand même une liberté, je ne sais pas si vous vous réalisez la chance que vous avez, c’était quand même une grosse grosse libération de la femme”
Bien sur, plus que l’avortement ?
Oui, le problème c’est que si il n’y a pas contraception il y’a risque de grossesse et si tu veux choisir tu arrives au problème de l’avortement. »
“That’s it, for me the most, well, the most important thing was contraception. I don’t know if you realise how lucky you are, but contraception was still a great liberation for women.
Of course, more than abortion?
Yes, the problem is that if there is no contraception there is a risk of pregnancy, and if you want to choose you come to the problem of abortion.”
But as Janine says, the next step was inevitably abortion. It would have been incomplete to legalise contraception and not abortion. It is in the seventies that the debate really took a lot of space in the public debate. This rising awareness and the need to give women more freedom also came from a mentality in the young generations, which had been brought to life two years before, in May 1968. Indeed, in May 1968, a period of civil unrest occurred in France, many students protested against the traditional institutions and morals by which they felt suffocated. They wanted more freedom, fewer traditional frameworks, they rejected the model they had been taught. With the will of freedom and of revolution of the morals, came the idea of more sexual freedom, and with that, the idea of freeing women from oppressive shackles. This liberalisation of sexual morals also contributed to enhance this fight for abortion, and gave it an additional legitimacy through the young people’s public opinion.
After that, the feminist commitments became more and more noticeable, but also more and more publicised.
The seventies: concrete actions in favour of legalising abortion
In 1971, a shock wave shook France on the issue of abortion. Indeed, 343 well-known women, actresses, intellectuals, signed a manifesto – which would later be renamed Manifesto of the 343 sluts – indicating that they had had an abortion. Published in the Nouvel Observateur on April 5, 1971, they exposed themselves to serious legal proceedings. In this text, written by the well-known Simone de Beauvoir, they indicate “I declare that I am one of them. I declare that I had an abortion. Just as we demand free access to contraceptives, we demand free abortion.”
« Je déclare que je suis l’une d’elles. Je déclare avoir avorté. De même que nous réclamons le libre accès aux moyens anticonceptionnels, nous réclamons l’avortement libre. »
– Manifeste des 343, 5 avril 1971, Nouvel Observateur n°334
Through this manifesto, they try to raise public awareness on the fact that merely 1 million women each year in France are forced to abort in terrible conditions. They accuse the law to be outdated but also dangerous for women.
Public awareness was also awakened by the street demonstration that occurred on the 20th November 1971, in Paris, organised by the MLF (Mouvement de libération des femmes). This public demonstration was relayed by the media and very publicised. It also showed that many women, famous or not, young or not, were in favour of this legalisation. Many street demonstrations took place in the years that followed, everywhere in France.
In that same year, the French lawyer Gisèle Halimi and the intellectual Simone de Beauvoir founded a movement, “Choisir”, which means “Choose”, which fought for the decriminalisation of abortion. This organisation, in 1972, and more particularly Gisèle Halimi were thrown into the spotlight because of a significant trial. Gisèle Halimi was defending 5 people, one young girl, Marie-Claire Chevalier, and four adult women, who had helped her in her undertaking. Marie-Claire had an abortion after having been raped and was confronted in court for the abortion she had had (let’s also note that the one who denounced her to the police was her rapist).
Gisèle Halimi chose for this trial to bring many public figures to the stand: the famous feminist Simone de Beauvoir, actresses like Francois Fabian and Delphine Seyrig, politicians like Michel Rocard, but also scientists such as Jean Rostand, Jacques Monod or Francois Jacob. These public figures defended Marie-Claire and the women that had helped her, her own mother included, by saying that this law was outdated. This trial became a very political trial, a means to affirm that the legalisation of abortion was a necessary step. Gisèle Halimi herself claimed that she brought this trial – with the agreement of the accused – to not just a judiciary level but to a political and social level. Marie Claire was acquitted by the tribunal, and her mother convicted to paying 500 francs. She appealed, and the tribunal never took care of the case, so she was never officially condemned. This trial was very important because it was the first time that the law of 1920 didn’t come into effect. It was also the sign, on a legal term of a society’s mentality evolving towards more freedom for women bodies and more control on their fecundity. This trial, very publicised, affected politicians and public opinion, and really had an impact on making more and more people aware of the invalidity and danger of this law.
Following the manifesto of the 343 – that were women – came the engagement of 331 doctors. They all signed a petition that was published in the Nouvel Observateur on the 3rd February 1973, admitting that they had performed abortion even if it was illegal in France. Indeed, many doctors already performed abortions, secretly, so the law didn’t have power anymore. Janine, that I interviewed, told me about her experience when she was a young women and thought.
« Il y’avait des médecins qui étaient quand meme complices, il fallait bien. Moi j’ai été confrontée à un problème à un moment donné ou je pensais être enceinte, et le gynécologue chez qui j’étais allée m’a dit “Madame vous avez pris vos responsabilités” parce que je prenais la pilule, il y’avait déjà la contraception, et j’avais peur que cela n’ai pas marché, et il m’a dit “Madame vous avez pris vos responsabilités je prendrais les miennes”. Donc c’était un toubib qui était favorable et c’est vrai que j’étais ressortie un peu réconfortée. Bon après il n’y a pas eu besoin, mais bon tu es rassurée. »
“There were doctors who were accomplices, they had to be. I was confronted with a problem at one point when I thought I was pregnant, and the gynaecologist I went to said to me “Madam you took your responsibilities” because I was taking the pill, there was already contraception, and I was afraid that it didn’t work, and he told me “Madam you took your responsibilities, I’ll take mine”. So he was a doctor who was favourable and it’s true that I came out a little comforted. Well, afterwards there was no need, but you are reassured.”
Through this additional manifesto we could see that abortion was a reality in France, even if the law prohibited it. It really confirmed what the activists were defending: the idea that this law was just dangerous and wasn’t adapted to the reality anymore.
1975: The acknowledgment by the law of a major change in the society and mentalities
All these events, making many citizens as well as many politicians, aware of the urge to change the law, lead to the decision of president Giscard d’Estaing to prepare a law decriminalising abortion. Simone Veil, who was at the time Minister of Health presented her law to the assembly on November 13th, 1974. Many deputies disagreed with this law, and considered it was a threat towards life. Most of those who disagreed were right wing deputies, as Andre, one of my interviewees, who was 30 years old at the time and was always very interested in politics, confirmed:
« C’était très clair, la droite était très majoritairement contre, et la gauche très majoritairement pour. Je ne peux pas dire que c’était l’unanimité totale d’un côté ou de l’autre, mais oui c’était très clair. A cette époque-là en plus la droite était très noyautée par l’église catholique. »
“It was very clear, the right wing was overwhelmingly against, and the left wing overwhelmingly in favour. I can’t say it was total unanimity on one side or the other, but yes it was very clear. At that time, moreover, the right wing was very much overwhelmed by the Catholic Church.”
After 9 parliamentary sessions of stormy debates, the law was voted and enacted on the 17th of January 1975, with a five year test run. It was then confirmed in 1979. It was official, it was the result of all these actions: abortion was legal. The fight had been legally won.
Mentalities: What kind of changes did the law bring in the French society?
As you know, this legal question is deeply linked to mentalities. Mentalities needed to change for the assembly to accept this law, and the law was also a way to make more mentalities change. Of course, after 1975, not everyone was convinced that legal abortion was a good thing. Still today, some French citizens, mostly ones with a religious denomination, are against abortion.
This change in the law made more citizens aware of the importance of the right to abortion for women, as the figures show: in September 1974, a few months before the vote of the law, 48% of the French citizens were in favour of abortion when a women considered she wasn’t able to raise a kid. In 2014, 75% of the citizens shared this opinion. Moreover, we can also see this evolution of mentalities as the most radical opinions are in sharp decline: they were 24% to consider that abortion should be performed only when the women’s life was in danger, when they are only 6% today.
These figures highlight these changes in mentalities. However, the biggest change that we can observe in the French society, is the fact that it was a total taboo at the time and isn’t anymore. At the time, having an abortion was an enormous shame in the families. Many young girls who became pregnant and had to abort were totally rejected by their families, who considered it a total shame. Nobody talked about these “secret” abortions, of course because it was legally forbidden, but also because it was a total taboo. The moral was still so important around subjects linked to sexuality – and this one also involved the touchy issue of life – which made it even more taboo in the public sphere as well as in the private life.
« Puis il faut voir aussi le poids, ça ne se faisait pas donc il y’avait une chape morale dans les familles, on étouffait tout ça, c’était une pression assez lourde »
“Then you also have to look at the weight, it wasn’t done, so there was a moral cap in the families, all that was stifled, it was a rather heavy pressure.”
Even in the families, parents would never talk to their children about these issues, even though at any moment of their life women could be confronted by it. Even if it was a reality, it wasn’t a subject. The young generations didn’t talk much about it together. Janine confirmed in her interview the existence of this taboo, telling me it was never a subject, and even when she became an adult, or a mother, she never talked to her parents about these kind of society issues.
« Oui oui mais dans mon entourage, déjà je te dis on n’en parlait pas beaucoup, on en parlait entre gens de notre génération un petit peu mais pas du tout avec la famille, la liberté de parole que vous avez avec les parents elle n’existait vraiment pas. »
“Yes, yes, but in my entourage, I’m telling you, we didn’t talk about it much, we talked about it between people of our generation a little bit but not at all with the family, the freedom of speech that you have with your parents really didn’t exist.”
Eve, who is 47 years old today, has a different experience already. She was 2 years old when abortion was legalised so she grew up in a society where abortion was authorised, not totally in the morals for everyone yet, but it was a way more free subject than at the time when her parents were young. However, she still feels that the weight of the morals and of the experience, that is indeed a difficult experience for women, their bodies but also their psychology, puts a taboo on the women.
« Oui je pense effectivement que ce n’est plus un tabou aussi fort qu’avant. Je connais des femmes, des amies qui se sont faites avorter et on en parlait. Dans le débat public non plus ce n’est plus un tabou. Mais je crois qu’il y’a toujours un tabou, la honte est plus chez les femmes qui se sont faites avorter. Il y’a le fait de se dire qu’on a enlevé une vie, et je connais certaines qui en ont beaucoup souffert. Ca ne les a pas empêché d’en parler, mais il y’avait une blessure »
“Yes, I do think that it’s not as strong a taboo as it used to be. I know women, friends who have had abortions and we used to talk about it. In the public debate it is no longer a taboo either. But I believe that it is still a taboo, the shame is greater among women who have had an abortion. There is the fact of telling oneself that a life has been taken, and I know some who have suffered greatly as a result. It didn’t stop them from talking about it, but there was an injury.”
On the contrary, when I interviewed Justine, who is today 20 years old, she explained to me that this subject wasn’t a taboo in her family, that it was very free. However, she also evokes the shame that her sister felt.
“C’est un sujet très libre dans ma famille, et ma soeur, qui s’est faite avorter, n’a eu aucun mal à la maison, bon même si elle avait une honte personnelle qui devrait pas être là, il n’y a pas eu de jugement, pas eu de honte. C’est un sujet qui revient assez régulièrement et librement.”
“It’s a very free subject in my family, and my sister, who had an abortion, didn’t suffer from it at home, well even if she had a personal shame that shouldn’t be there, there was no judgment, no shame. It’s a subject that comes up quite regularly and freely”.
I feel that the opposition between these testimonies is probably the reflection of the major evolution that the French society has seen on this subject: the taboo was everywhere, in families, in the public space, in the villages, in society. Today, the taboo is gone. There is still a taboo of course in some families, and on some women but it isn’t the majority and the normality like it was at the time. The young generations are very free on this topic. Social media also played an important role in breaking taboos. It is a way to inform and get informed on this subject. The young generation hear way more about it more than the older generations did.
« Je pense qu’on est très informés par les réseaux sociaux on voit les histoires on voit les combats et je crois qu’il n’y a plus de tabous au niveau des jeunes. »
“I think we are very informed through social networks, we see the stories, we see the fights and I think that there are no more taboos among young people. »
It has become obvious: mentalities have changed in a significant way over the last 50 years. More and more French people consider abortion is something normal and necessary. At the same time, more and more people speak freely of the subject. Abortion isn’t reduced to shame and silence anymore: it is a real topic, a reality that any women can be confronted by in her life, and the young generations aren’t afraid to talk about it.
This evolution of mentalities was also illustrated in the evolution of the law since 1975. Indeed, things have changed on the legal level. In 1982, Yvette Roudy, minister of Women’s rights passed a law that guarantees 80% or 100% reimbursement of the cost of an abortion. This law completes the Veil law, and responds to the demands of the feminists in the 1970s.
On the 27th January 1993 was passed a very important law, called the Neiertz law. This law decriminalises self-abortion and creates the offence of obstructing the termination of pregnancy. It aims at repressing and prohibiting groups that take action to prevent abortions. Indeed, after the Veil law, and particularly in the 80’s many groups were created, also known as “commando anti-IVG” which means “anti-abortion commando”. These groups had many modes of operation, but one of them was to tie themselves up in the operating room to prevent the abortion from taking place. Two major organisations were at the origin of these obstructions: “SOS Touts-petits” and “la Trêve de Dieu”. Many of these organisations continued their actions even after the law was passed, but they were judged for it. This law was completed in 2001: it now includes all acts of intimidation towards the medical staff or women who come for an abortion. These decisions signed a real evolution on the consideration the society and its individuals had on abortion: abortion became a real private matter, was the women’s decision, and no one had the right to interfere with it. It was no longer a subject on which individuals could afford to impose their point of view.
On the 4th of July 2001, is passed a new law that aims at proposing measures that would enable a better application of the Veil Law. Indeed, the delay increases from 12 to 14 weeks of amenorrhea. It also gives the possibility to the foreigners who have just arrived in France to have an abortion without needing to return to their country. It also gives under-age girls the opportunity to free themselves from parental permission and guarantees their anonymity. This series of measures may seem negligible, but they have considerably improved abortion conditions in the years that followed. This law also illustrates the changes in mentalities: it is not “just” the act of abortion that society accepts, but there really is a will to make abortion safe for everyone, and not as traumatic or difficult as it could be before. It shows that abortion is now seen as a medical act like any other, and that measures are taken to make it safer.
Building the memory of the event
The memory of the event – the Veil law and the fights that lead to it – could be summed up in the figure of Simone Veil. Everyone has remembered her figure, her speech. Ask any French citizen who was the most important figure in the right to abortion, they will answer Simone Veil. During my interviews, I asked: “Who was, according to you, the most important figure in this fight for legal abortion?” I intentionally used the expression “fight for a legal abortion”, so as not to reduce the process to the law. All my interviewees, regardless of their age answered: “Simone Veil”.
« Ce que je retiens de cette époque, c’est le combat de femmes politique, comme Simone Veil, en 1975 »
“What I remember from that time is the struggle of women politicians, like Simone Veil, in 1975.”
« Est ce que tu te souviens de la figure qui était pour toi la plus importante de cette lutte, est ce qu’il y’a une figure qui t’a particulièrement marquée ?
– Simone Veil
Il y’en a eu d’autres aussi non ?
– Oui mais elle c’est quand même celle qui a arraché la victoire finale »
“Do you remember the figure that was the most important for you in this struggle, is there a figure that particularly marked you?
– Simone Veil
There have been others too, haven’t there?
– Yes, but she’s the one who snatched the final victory”.
This Veil law is now in all textbooks, every child who goes to the French Republic’s schools knows this law and above all knows the figure of Simone Veil. The culmination of this linked memory of the woman and the event was at the moment of her death. Simone Veil passed away on the 30th June 2017, at 89 years old. She entered the Pantheon on the 1st of July 2018 on the decision of Emmanuel Macron. In his speech, Emmanuel Macron salutes her courage and her fight for women’s right, all along her life. He insists on the fact that she had been “carrying with admirable force the bill on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy”.
« Simone Veil savait cependant que dans ce noble combat des droits humains, la moitié de l’humanité continuait obstinément d’être oubliée : les femmes. Elle avait vu leur soumission et leurs humiliations, elle-même avait affronté des inégalités qu’elle jugeait absurdes, dépassées. Alors elle se bâtit pour que justice soit faite aux femmes, à toutes les femmes. (…) Pour les femmes meurtries dans leur chair, dans leur âme, par les faiseuses d’anges, pour les femmes qui devaient cacher leur détresse ou la honte, et qu’elle arracha à leur souffrance en portant avec une force admirable le projet de loi sur l’interruption volontaire de grossesse, à la demande du président Valéry Giscard d’Estaing et avec le soutien du Premier ministre Jacques Chirac. Justice pour les femmes incertaines de leurs droits et de leur place dans la société, pour les femmes reléguées par les lois, les clichés, les conventions. Justice pour toutes ces femmes qui, partout dans le monde, sont martyrisées, violentées, vendues, mutilées. »
“Simone Veil knew, however, that in this noble struggle for human rights, half of humanity was stubbornly continuing to be forgotten: women. She had seen their submission and humiliation, she herself had confronted inequalities that she considered absurd and outdated. So she built herself up so that justice could be done to women, to all women. (…) For women bruised in their flesh, in their soul, by angel makers, for women who had to hide their distress or shame, and whom she wrenched from their suffering by carrying the bill on the IVG (abortion) with admirable force, at the request of President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and with the support of Prime Minister Jacques Chirac. Justice for women uncertain of their rights and their place in society, for women relegated by laws, clichés and conventions. Justice for all those women all over the world who are martyred, violated, sold, mutilated. ”
– Emmanuel Macron, 1st July 2018
There has been a construction of the memory of the event, legitimately, around the figure of this incredible women that was Simone Veil.
This important memory around the event of the law, and around Simone Veil as however obscured a bit the feminist movements that had appeared before, the commitment of other public figures that did a lot for this law to happen. We often summarise this fight and this law to one single person, which is Simone Veil and forget about the others, even though sometimes the ones that change the mentalities have more impact on the passing of a law than the one that passes it.
This became very clear during the commemoration of the Veil Law in 2015, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary. The Veil Law and women were celebrated with great pomp, but nothing was said about the movements that had preceded it and which were more than essential to achieve legalisation. In the magazine Nouvelles Questions Feministes, the journalist Elsa Desmoulins rises up against the commemoration.
« Le courage de Simone Veil face à une assemblée phallocrate est indéniable, lorsqu’elle défend un texte reconnaissant le droit des femmes à décider seules d’une question qui les concerne. Mais une fois contées ces joutes parlementaires, qu’a-t-on dit de la bataille pour l’avortement ? Rien, sinon un énième épisode du supposé progrès infini de la libéralisation des mœurs. S’imagine-t-on sérieusement qu’une femme ait pu arracher ce droit à des parlementaires si peu soucieux de liberté quand il s’agit de celle des dominées ? »
“Simone Veil’s courage in the face of a phallocrat assembly is undeniable, when she defends a text recognising the right of women to decide alone on a question that concerns them. But once these parliamentary jousts have been recounted, what has been said about the battle for abortion? Nothing, if not yet another episode of the supposed infinite progress of the liberalisation of morals. Do we seriously imagine that a woman could have snatched this right from parliamentarians who are so little concerned about freedom when it comes to the freedom of the dominated? »
– Elsa Desmoulins, Nouvelle Questions Féministes, 2015
Far be it from me to give an account here of how the memory is consolidated. However it seemed important to remind that the memorialisation process is complex and part of the history itself, and that official commemoration are both a reflection of memory and contribute to shaping that memory. This commemoration reflected the tendency, in the construction of that memory, to erase feminist struggles and commitments, to remember only the moment when the law was passed – and the woman who allowed it to be passed.
Simone Veil herself recognised in 1990, in an interview she gave to the journalist Michèle Manceaux of the Marie Claire magazine that all these feminist movements had deeply contributed to changing the mentalities and the law at the same time. She uses the expression “illégalisme légal” which means “legal illegalism,” to describe the illegal actions of performing abortion or deciding to get aborted.
« On était entré dans un illégalisme légal, dans la mesure où la loi existait toujours mais où il y avait des circulaires des gardes des Sceaux disant au Parquet de ne pas poursuivre. »
“We had entered into legal illegalism, insofar as the law still existed but there were circulars from the Minister of Justice telling the Public Prosecutor’s Office not to prosecute.”
– Simone Veil, 1990
This “hyper memorialisation” of the figure of Simone Veil, is however evolving a bit. It has been very clear, and at first sight paradoxical in the interviews I led. Indeed, the generation of my grandparents (75 years old today), that has lived through these events have a fuzzy memory of the events. They remember Simone Veil, but not many others. They have forgotten about the so famous and decisive “Procès of Bobigny”. Of course, Janine and André, that I interviewed did not take part of these events and of this fight, and I guess those who were engaged remember better all these events, that they have lived for. However, although they were contemporaries at the time, they do not remember the Bobigny trial. None of them has mentioned another great figure such as Gisele Halimi. Eve, their daughter, and who is today 47 years old didn’t know about Gisèle Halimi either. She heard about it for the first time this summer, when I told her about her death.
« Comme figure de cette époque ? Je pense immédiatement à Simone Veil. Et je sais depuis peu que Gisèle Halimi a beaucoup compté dans cette lutte mais c’est parce que tu m’en as parlé au moment de sa mort. Vous êtes dans un moment d’engagement féministe et avez une culture de l’histoire féministe que je pense que ma génération n’a pas. »
“As a figure of that era? I immediately think of Simone Veil. And I’ve recently come to know that Gisèle Halimi was very important in this struggle, but that’s because you told me about her at the time of her death. You are in a moment of feminist commitment and have a culture of feminist history that I think my generation doesn’t have.”
Justine, who is part of the young generation, knew more things, more events about the fight for legal abortion. She knew about the Bobigny trial, even if she had forgotten the name. She didn’t talk about Gisele Halimi during our interview, but directly told me, when we finished she that she had forgotten to tell her name. It also appears, in conversations I may have with people around me, friends my age, or within my siblings, that these names and events are known. Not necessarily in a very precise way of course, but at least by name. It seems that the young generations are more aware of the process that lead to the law. It may find its origins, as Eve suggests, in the fact that the new generation is very engaged in feminist matters, and very aware of the history of the fights. Historic feminist movements and figures are very publicised on social media, which makes the awareness of fights more reachable for young people than it was for older people.
This observation I made during my interviews is also confirmed by an advent, in the last few years, of a new memory of that period, that includes not only the memory of the Veil law but also many other events that took place at the time. An example is a theatre play from the Comédie Française that took place in 2018 in Paris, at the Theatre du Vieux Colombier. Entitled Hors la Loi, the play retraced the Bobigny trial. Her plea from the Bobigny trial in 1972 was also taken up by actor Richard Berry in his show Plaidoiries in 2018. A TV film had already been produced in 2006 on the subject.
This “new memory” has also glorified new figures, and more particularly the figure that is Gisele Halimi. That incredible women was known not only for this trial, but her name appears more and more regularly among the great figures of this movement. When she died, on the 28th July 2020, this reality became even more concrete: many articles, posts, stories, tributes of all kinds were posted on social media and in the newspaper. This wave of homage really contributed to reinforce this new memory of the figure of Gisele Halimi. The president Emmanuel Macron announced in September that a national tribute was to be given at the Invalides in her memory.
History and memory are still being written of course, and it would be pretentious of me to want to draw conclusions about a still uncertain future. However, this national recognition, as we already said, draws the memory, puts at light a figure of this fight that had not been as glorified as Simone Veil. Maybe are we going towards a new, more complete, collective memory of the fights for the legalisation of abortion.
 Nisand, Israël, Luisa Araújo-Attali, et Anne-Laure Schillinger-Decker. « Historique et législation de l’interruption volontaire de grossesse », Israël Nisand éd., L’IVG. Presses Universitaires de France, 2012, pp. 5-20.
 Manifeste des 343, 5 avril 1971, Nouvel Observateur n°334, traduit en anglais
 Pavard, Bibia, Florence Rochefort, et Michelle Zancarini-Fournel. « Chapitre 4 – L’irruption du mouvement féministe sur la scène publique », , Les lois Veil. Contraception 1974, IVG 1975, sous la direction de Pavard Bibia, Rochefort Florence, Zancarini-Fournel Michelle. Armand Colin, 2012, pp. 65-86.
 Europe 1, En 40 ans, l’opinion sur l’IVG a nettement évolué, 08/02/2014
 Nisand, Israël, Luisa Araújo-Attali, et Anne-Laure Schillinger-Decker. « Historique et législation de l’interruption volontaire de grossesse », Israël Nisand éd., L’IVG. Presses Universitaires de France, 2012, pp. 5-20.
 The Pantheon is a French monument dedicated to celebrating the great figures of the French nation (writers, politicians, intellectuals…).
 Emmanuel Macron, speech delivered on the 1st July 2018 when Simone and Antoine Veil entered the Pantheon, traduced in English.
 Desmoulins, Elsa. « L’anniversaire de la loi Veil, ou la commémoration d’une histoire sans lutte », Nouvelles Questions Féministes, vol. vol. 34, no. 2, 2015, pp. 116-118.
 Georges Duby, 1973, Le Dimanche de Bouvines, Gallimard.
Xavière Gauthier, 2002, Naissance d’une liberté…, op. cit., qui retranscrit un entretien de la journaliste Michèle Manceaux avec Simone Veil paru dans Marie Claire, n° 455, juillet 1990.