First, some context to my story
The Manifesto of the 343 (Manifeste des 343), was a French petition signed by 343 women “who had the courage to say, ‘I’ve had an abortion'”. It was an act of , since was illegal in France, and by admitting publicly to having aborted, they exposed themselves to criminal prosecution. The manifesto was published in the social democratic French weekly magazine on April 5, 1971. The manifesto called for the legalization of abortion and free access to contraception. It paved the way to the adoption, in December1974 and January 1975, of the “Veil law”, named after Health Minister , that repealed the penalty for voluntarily terminating a pregnancy during the first ten weeks (later extended to twelve weeks). The text of the was written by . It began (as translated into English):
One million women in France have abortions every year. Condemned to secrecy, they do so in dangerous conditions, while under medical supervision, this is one of the simplest procedures. Society is silencing these millions of women. I declare that I am one of them. I declare that I have had an abortion. Just as we demand free access to contraception, we demand the freedom to have an abortion.
It was the inspiration for a February 3, 1973, manifesto by 331 French doctors declaring their support for abortion rights:
We want freedom of abortion. It is entirely the woman’s decision. We reject any entity that forces her to defend herself, perpetuates an atmosphere of guilt, and allows underground abortions to persist…
The week after the manifesto appeared, the front page of the satirical weekly carried a drawing attacking male politicians with the question “Qui a engrossé les 343 salopes du manifeste sur l’avortement?” (“Who got the 343 sluts [bitches] from the abortion manifesto pregnant?”). This drawing by gave the manifesto its familiar nickname, often mistaken as the original title. In 1971, the feminist group Choisir (“To Choose”) was founded by , to protect the women who had signed the Manifesto. In 1972, Choisir formed itself into a clearly reformist body, and the campaign greatly influenced the passing of the law allowing and legal abortion carried through by in 1974.
Notable signatories of the 343: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , and
The Mouvement de libération des femmes (MLF, transl. Women’s Liberation Movement) is a autonomous, single-sex feminist movement that advocates women’s and challenges . It was founded in 1970, in the wake of the American movement and the . The movement challenges traditional forms of militancy: it operates through general assemblies, small decentralized groups and has a repertoire of extra-parliamentary actions such as the organization of events, the creation and signing of petitions, the holding of public meetings, etc.
On August 26, 1970, a dozen anonymous activists laid a wreath under the Arc de Triomphe in praise of . This action was led by nine women, including , , , and . Their banners displayed this phrase: “There is more unknown than the unknown soldier: his wife”.
They were immediately arrested by the police, but the next day the press announced, “the birth of the MLF”.
At its origins, the MLF was neither a movement nor a political party: no leader was tolerated. The movement is composed by collectives and small groups. The feminist militants want to fight in all fronts, based on the principle that ““. They reject the ideals of beauty imposed by the patriarchal diktat, claim for nurseries, ask their partners to share domestic tasks. The sexual revolution has gone through it: they denounce rape, incest and sexual assault, and fight for abortion.
One of the first actions of the movement was to support the rebellion in the center for pregnant teenagers from Plessis-Robinson,who were between 13 and 17 years old. At the end of 1971, the residents began, with the help of the MLF, on a hunger strike to refuse the fate that was imposed on them: excluded from their school, marginalized by their own family, mistreated. Alerted by the MLF, went to meet them, accompanied by journalists.
Mouvement pour la liberté de l’avortement et de la contraception (Mlac Trans. Movement for the freedom to abortion and birth control.)
In April 1973 abortion and birth control freedom movement ( MLAC) was born. It was an Association law 1901, that was created to legalise the Voluntary termination of pregnancy or in French (IGV -Interruption Volontaire de la grossesse). Militants were from the Planning Familial, MLF, and the Groupe Information Santé.
The movement dissolved in February 1975 as the interruption of Pregnancy was authorised by the law Veil. The Loi VEIL authorising the Interruption voluntary of pregnancy .