Sunday, May 22

Death of Marie-Claire Chevalier, figure of the fight for the right to abortion

Maîtres Monique Antoine and Gisèle Halimi (2-G), lawyers for Ms. Chevalier (2nd G) and Marie-Claire Chevalier (D), 17, and the first secretary of the PSU Michel Rocard (C) leave the Bo-

Marie-Claire Chevalier, defended by Gisèle Halimi during the resounding Bobigny trial for illegal abortion in 1972, died Sunday at the age of 66 following a long illness, we learned Tuesday from her family.

Ms. Chevalier, who lived in Loir-et-Cher, became a figure in the fight for women’s rights after her trial in the fall of 1972, the outcome of which helped make possible the Veil law authorizing abortion. in 1975.

His lawyer at the time, Gisèle Halimi, then won a resounding victory in a resounding abortion trial in which five women were tried.

A minor, Ms. Chevalier had an abortion after a rape and her rapist had denounced her. Four other women, including her mother, had been accused of aiding or abetting abortion.

The girl’s mother, Michèle Chevalier, had the idea of ​​calling on Me Halimi after reading “Djamila Boupacha”, a book by the lawyer about an Algerian activist raped and tortured by French soldiers. Me Halimi had agreed to defend them, deciding to attack the law of 1920, which prohibited contraception, abortion and all “contraceptive propaganda”.

According to her companion, Ms. Chevalier had maintained a good relationship with the lawyer. She traveled regularly to Paris to spend the day with the feminist activist.

The former caregiver, however, wanted to stay in the shadows, according to her family. She had changed her first name after the trial to regain her anonymity.

According to Ernestine Ronai, head of the Departmental Observatory of Violence Against Women in Seine-Saint-Denis, the 1972 trial had been “a really, very hard fight” for the young Marie-Claire.

“She conducted it courageously. This trial is a symbol and she accepted what Gisèle Halimi wanted to do with it, that is to say a political trial for the right to abortion. At the time, this n It wasn’t obvious,” added the feminist activist.

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