The European Parliament will today hold a special ceremony to honour recently-deceased French politician Simone Veil. The many tributes being paid to Mrs Veil focus on her survival of the holocaust to go on to be elected the first President of the directly-elected European Parliament in 1979. They conveniently ignore the fact that this is the woman who legalised abortion in France.
European political leaders of all stripes rushed to eulogise this “great European”. As one would expect, Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Liberal group to which she belonged while a Member of the European Parliament, referred to her as a “leading liberal lady & champions (sic) of women’s rights, is not (sic) more. She was exceptionally courageous and will be soarly (sic) missed.”
As French Minister for Justice in 1975, it was Mrs Veil who drafted the law decriminalising abortion, initially up to 10 weeks, a law which still bears her name (“La Loi Veil”). Even if admittedly Mrs Veil envisaged abortion as a legally-permitted exception, not to be encouraged, her political inheritors such as Mr Verhofstadt have no qualms in declaring abortion to be a “woman’s right”.
Mrs Veil’s own words as she proposed the law to French lawmakers at the time were: “I say this with total conviction: Abortion should stay an exception, the last resort for desperate situations. How, you may ask, can we tolerate it without its losing the character of an exception — without it seeming as though society encourages it?”
But even the leader of the centre-right EPP Group in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, rushed to gush about Mrs Veil, describing her life as being “dedicated to peace and hope”. Mr Weber added that “her memory and legacy must be considered as sources of inspiration for the next generations”. None of Europe’s political class is so impolite as to recall that this “legacy” includes millions of slaughtered unborn French children at a current rate of over 200,000 per year. In fact, Mrs Veil’s legacy is one which has ensured the elimination of vast swathes of these “next generations” of French people. Hardly what one could describe as “peace and hope”.
It is one of the great ironies of history that a woman who survived the horrors of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz went on to usher in a society in which human life is as casually discarded as in those same death camps.