Manifesto of the 343

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The Manifesto of the 343 (French: manifeste des 343), was a declaration that was signed by 343 women admitting to having had an abortion, thereby exposing themselves to criminal prosecution. The manifesto appeared in the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur on April 5, 1971. It was also known as the "Manifesto of the 343 Sluts"[1] or the "Manifesto of the 343 Bitches"[2] ("le manifeste des 343 salopes").

The text[edit]

The text of the manifesto was written by Simone de Beauvoir.[1] It began (translated here into English):

One million women in France have an abortion every year.
Condemned to secrecy, they have them in dangerous conditions when this procedure, performed under medical supervision, is one of the simplest.
These women are veiled in silence.
I declare that I am one of them. I have had an abortion.
Just as we demand free access to birth control, we demand the freedom to have an abortion.[3]

Impact[edit]

The week after the manifesto appeared, the front page of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo carried a drawing attacking male politicians with the question "Qui a engrossé les 343 salopes du manifeste sur l'avortement?"[4] ("Who got the 343 sluts [bitches] from the abortion manifesto pregnant?") This drawing by Cabu gave the manifesto its nickname.

It was the inspiration for a February 3, 1973, manifesto by 331 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 ....[5]

It contributed above all to the adoption, in December 1974–January 1975, of the "Veil law", named for Health Minister Simone Veil, that repealed the penalty for voluntarily terminating a pregnancy during the first ten weeks (later extended to twelve weeks).

Notable signers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Marie Renard (February 11, 2008). "Swans Commentary: The Unfinished Business Of Simone de Beauvoir". Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Brief history of women's rights". SOS Femmes. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Le "Manifeste des 343 salopes" paru dans le Nouvel Obs en 1971". NouvelObs.com (in French). Le Nouvel Observateur. June 23, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2008. 
  4. ^ Image of cover from Charlie Hebdo
  5. ^ Michelle Zancarini-Fournel, « Histoire(s) du MLAC (1973-1975) », Clio, numéro 18-2003, Mixité et coéducation, [En ligne], mis en ligne le 04 décembre 2006. URL : http://clio.revues.org/index624.html. Consulté le 19 décembre 2008.
  6. ^ Simone de Beauvoir and the women's movement in France: An eye-witness account, by Claudine Monteil
  7. ^ In the 2007 film 2 Days in Paris, the mother, played by Marie Pillet, of a character played by Julie Delpy acknowledges herself to have been one of the "343 bitches", reflecting her action in real life.

External links[edit]