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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL AL #308 - Antipatriarchy, Gisèle Halimi (1927-2020): conquering women's rights (de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 21 Oct 2020 09:20:07 +0300

Gisèle Halimi passed away on July 28 at the age of 93. Her name will always be linked to two great fights to which she had put her profession as a lawyer: the fight for the right to abortion and that for the criminalization of rape. ---- In 1960, already engaged against the arbitrariness of military and colonial justice and the defense of Algerian independence activists, Gisèle Halimi defends, in the midst of the Algerian war, Djamila Boupacha, an FLN activist raped and tortured in detention by French soldiers. Halimi signed the "Manifesto of 343" in 1971 , bringing together women who publicly declared that they had aborted and called for free access to contraceptives and free abortion. She is the only lawyer signing the platform. The same year, with Simone de Beauvoir Choosing the Cause of Women, she initiated a movement to fight for the decriminalization of abortion.

One of its most publicized trials, the Bobigny trial in 1972, is a milestone in the advancement of the fight for the right to abortion. She defends Marie-Claire, a 17-year-old girl who had an illegal abortion following rape, before a court made up entirely of men. Her plea sheds light on class justice which particularly affects women from working-class backgrounds: "And if I speak today, Gentlemen, only of abortion and the condition given to women by a repressive law, a law of another age, it is less because the file obliges us to do so than because that this law is the touchstone of the oppression that strikes women. It is always the same class, that of poor women, economically and socially vulnerable, this class of the penniless and the unrelated that is struck."

Marie-Claire is acquitted, while her mother and the abortionist are sentenced to symbolic sentences. The trial as well as the numerous feminist mobilizations highlight the iniquity and uselessness of the ban on abortion, and lead to its legalization in 1975 with the Veil law.

Lawyer for the criminalization of rape
Halimi is also involved in the criminalization of rape, in particular during the Aix-en-Provence trial in 1978, in the defense of Anne T tab and Aracelli Castellono, two young women raped by three men. Its impact contributes to the adoption in 1980 of a true definition of rape which passes from misdemeanor to felony and is punished by 15 years of criminal imprisonment.

She became involved in politics in the first half of the 1980s alongside the PS, when the first years of Mitterrand's presidency could still create an illusion, in order to carry her feminist commitments. It does not take long to move away from it realizing that its hopes do not succeed, refusing the compromises and the sexist injunctions to the discipline of party. Despite everything, she will have made progress on the decriminalization of homosexual relations for minors and the end of the discriminatory distinction in matters of sexual majority for homosexuals.

At a time when Darmanins and Dupond-Moretti have just been appointed to the government, his battles remain more than ever to be remembered.

Lucie (UCL Amiens), Marek (UCL Bordeaux)

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