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A Victory for France


On 5 April 2022, it was the 51st anniversary of the « Manifeste des 343 salopes », a manifesto signed by women, both famous and ordinary, in favour of the decriminalisation of abortion in France. And in November 2022, the National Assembly in France voted to enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution — a first in the world. 

Fifty-one years ago, 343 women came together to sign this manifesto, which was published in the Observer on 5 April 1971. It was to point out that even though abortion was illegal in France, women were having abortions. One of the signatories of this manifesto was the French lawyer, activist and campaigner Gisèle Halimi. To speak of her, two words immediately stand out: fighter and rebel. 

The November 2022 decision was a victory for French women, especially after what happened in the United States in June 2022, when the Supreme Court overturned the Roe vs Wade decision that allowed women to have abortions nationwide. 

Roe vs Wade was based on the 4th Amendment of the 1791 Constitution, which provides protection for privacy and decisions made within that framework. It was also based on the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection against deprivation of liberty — one of the amendments used to end slavery or make same-sex marriage a constitutional right, among others.

In the United States, abortion rights remain a political issue and a highly sensitive and divisive social issue. You are either pro-life or pro-choice. It is the poorest women, often black women, living in conservative states, who are the first to be affected by the decline in abortion rights.

In about 20 countries around the world abortion is still illegal, even though it is a basic human right. 

Final therefore statement…

What France has done for abortion is a historic step for women but as we know, abortion is a fundamental right, which should be legal everywhere in the world, especially in 2023. Until it is officially, we will continue to fight.


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