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Simone Veil was born in Nice

Simone Veil was born in Nice, France on July 13 in 1927. She received her baccalauréat on March 28th in 1944. Only a few days later she was arrested by German authorities. With her mother, her sister and herself, the Jewish family was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. They were later transferred to Bergen-Belsen, there, Simone’s mother passed away from typhus very shortly before the liberation of the camp in 1945 on the 15th of April. The two sisters found out, that their father and had been sent to Lithuania, but had also died. As for Simone’s other sister, she had been arrested at the very start of the war as she was part of the Resistance, but she had survived her imprisonment in Ravensbrück. The sister she went to camp with died shortly after the liberation in a car accident in 1950. In 1946 she got married to Antoine Veil, they had three sons together. (Veil, 2007)

After the liberation, Simone Veil started studying political science and law at Sciences Po at the University of Paris. After graduating from the university with a law degree, and a political science diploma, Veil decided to pass the national examination to become magistrate. In 1957 when Simone Veil was penitentiary administrator, she realized even though women were not as present as males in prison, that their conditions were very coercive (Ruth, 2009). She helped, Algerian women during the Algerian war, to get an education. In 1964 she then moved onto being the director of civil affairs. There she also succeeded in securing dual parental control for family legal matters. Still as director of civil affairs, she helped women with children whose fathers were undeclared to have rights. Finally, she obtained adoption rights for women (Ruth, 2009).

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In 1974, Simone Veil was appointed minister of health, by Valérie Giscard d’Estaing. She was the first female minister in the French government. It was whilst holding this position in the French government, that Veil threw herself in her hardest political battle. The first Veil law to be passed, was on December 4th in 1974. It allowed the refund of contraception from Social Security. The law also gave access to minors, without age limit nor parent consent, to modern contraception. For the the first time in history, the french were able to differentiate sexuality and reproduction. (Nizard, 2013)

1970, was the year when the debates for abortion really started. Ongoing protests were happening. Doctors were signing petitions against it, “Let them live”. Women that did have an abortion, would respond with manifests. No progress was being made. In 1973, prime minister, Pierre Massner proposed a reform, however, neither sides would …?…. from their positions. In 1975, Veil decided that even after the defeat of 1973 she would not let herself give up on this fight.

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