French Academy Elects Author of Legal Abortion as Newest Member
PARIS, November 20, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – L'Académie française, (French Academy) has selected one of the authors of legalised abortion in France as its latest member. Simone Veil, 81, was elected Thursday by the Academy to the chair formerly held by Pierre Messmer.
The French Academy is the pre-eminent French academic body on matters pertaining to the French language. It consists of forty members, known as "immortals," who hold their office for life. Historically, many of France's best-known writers, politicians and public figures have been inducted into the academy, including Victor Hugo and Racine.
A major figure in post-war French and European politics, Veil was the French Minister of Health from 1974 to 1979, when she became the first president of the European Parliament from 1979-1982. She was Minister of State from 1993 to 1995 before joining the Constitutional Council, where she sat from 1998 to 2007.
As the health minister in the governments of Prime Ministers Jacques Chirac and Raymond Barre, she pushed forward legislation making access to contraception easier, in 1974, and legalising abortion in 1975.
In June 2007, in a France 2 interview, Veil acknowledged that science is proving the existence of life from conception, "It is increasingly evident scientifically that from conception we are dealing with a living being." In that interview Veil also said she supported conscience protections for doctors who refuse to perform abortions. She did not, however, renounce her support for abortion.
President Sarkozy particularly praised Veil's efforts to promote public awareness of the Holocaust, in her "courage in the perpetual struggle for the freedom of women, for Europe or for the memory of the Shoah."
Not all of the Jewish community, however, is echoing the president's praise. In 2005, in a letter to then Polish President Aleksander Kwaœniewski, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the head of the New York-based Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, criticized Veil's presence in 2005 at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation. Rabbi Levin said that Veil, an Auschwitz survivor, was responsible for a mass murder of human life far exceeding that of the Nazi state, by legalizing and promoting abortion.
A statement from the Union of Orthodox Rabbis said, "She is one of those chiefly responsible for an ongoing destruction of human life far exceeding that of the Nazis.
"In her pro-abortion activities she has acted diametrically contrary to the tenets of Judaism."Source: Hilary White, LifeSiteNews.com
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