French politician, Holocaust survivor and women’s right’s proponent Simone Veil died at the age of 89 in Paris on Friday, Reuters reported. Veil, who was best known to have legalised abortion during her tenure as French health minister in 1974, died at her home, her family said.
“May her example inspire our fellow countrymen, who will find in her the best of France,” President Emmanuel Macron said.
Born Simone Jacob on July 12, 1927, in Nice, the revolutionary figure lost her mother, father and brother in concentration camps. She married prominent businessman Antoine Veil, who died in 2013.
She became the first directly elected president of the European parliament in 1970. She had studied law at Sciences Po in Paris and went on to become a magistrate. Princeton University and Israel’s Weizman Institute gave her honorary degrees during her career.
Her campaign to pass the abortion law, which gained popularity as “la loi Veil” or “the Veil Law”, encountered strong opposition in the Roman Catholic-dominated French Parliament and the civil society in the 1970s. The passing of the Bill made France the first predominantly Roman Catholic country to legalise abortion.