Marie-Claire Chevalier, Catalyst for French Abortion Law, Dies at 66

While in high school in 1972, she was raped and became pregnant. Her illegal abortion paved the way for France to decriminalize the procedure in 1975.

By Katharine Q. Seelye and Constant Méheut
Feb. 10, 2022

Marie-Claire Chevalier was 16 when she was raped by a high school classmate and became pregnant. She then had an abortion, which was illegal at the time unless the woman’s life was in danger.

Her classmate was later arrested on unrelated charges of auto theft. In a bid to avoid prosecution, he revealed Ms. Chevalier’s abortion to the authorities; he was released, and she was arrested and imprisoned.