Simone Veil: French politician and Holocaust survivor dies

  |   World News

The French politician, women's rights champion and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil has died at the age of 89. Best known in France for her instrumental role in legalising abortion in the 1970s, she went on to serve as the first president of an elected European Parliament.

Ms Veil, a liberal, later re-entered French politics, returning to the cabinet in the 1990s. President Emmanuel Macron described her as "inspiring" and the best of France. She became one of the 40 "immortals" of the Académie Française in 2010 - a great honour in France.

Ms Veil was France's minister of health from 1974-79, in which role she made access to contraception easier and fought a long battle to legalise abortion. The law which did so, passed in 1975, is known as "la loi Veil". Born in Nice in 1927 as Simone Jacob, her whole family was arrested by the Germans in 1944.

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