May 13, 2022

Marie-Claire Chevalier, the woman defended by Gisèle Halimi during the Bobigny abortion trial, is dead

Marie-Claire Chevalier, defended by Gisèle Halimi during the resounding Bobigny trial for illegal abortion in 1972, died on Sunday January 23, at the age of 66, following a long illness, her family announced on Tuesday.

Mme Chevalier, who lived in Loir-et-Cher, had become a figure in the fight for women’s rights after her trial in the fall of 1972, the outcome of which had helped to make possible the Veil law authorizing the voluntary interruption pregnancy (abortion) in 1975.

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His lawyer at the time, Gisèle Halimi, then won a resounding victory in this resounding trial during which five women were tried. Minor, Mme Chevalier had aborted after a rape and her rapist had denounced her. Four other women, including her mother, had been accused of aiding or abetting abortion.

“A really tough fight”

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

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According to his companion, M.me 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 was “a really tough fight” for the young Marie-Claire.

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“She led it bravely. 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, it was not obvious “, added the feminist activist.

The World with AFP