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Title:Avortement et autobiographie en France, 1946-2016
Author(s):Harmon, Anne-Benedicte M.
Director of Research:Proulx, François; Hilger, Stephanie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Proulx, François
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Mathy, Jean-Phillipe; Poucel, Jean-Jacques
Department / Program:French and Italian
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Through the three autobiographies studied, this dissertation reveals the journey of three women and three abortion situations that reflect the historical and social contexts of each period. In the first, Gisèle Halimi aborted clandestinely. She also wrote her book when abortion was illegal. Annie Ernaux waited until the year 2000 to talk about her 1964 experience. Finally, Colombe Schneck went through an abortion within the frame of the law. Because the authors aborted their pregnancies and wrote during different times, each wrote due to their own distinctive reasons. Halimi puts herself in danger vis-à-vis the law to defend a right she believes essential for women: the right to bodily autonomy. As lawyer of the Choisir organization and the defense counsel to Marie-Claire, Halimi made an impassioned plea to argue for the necessity of a law that would legalize abortion. When she writes her autobiography, Annie Ernaux does not need to convince of the necessity of the 1975 law. Her rhetoric is completely different than Halimi’s: she wants to use her experience, not only for herself, but also for the other women who have aborted and remained silent. By becoming the representative of the community of women, Ernaux successfully freed the voice of at least one woman: Colombe Schneck. The experience Schneck went through does not resemble that of her predecessors: she comes from a wealthy family, she aborted her pregnancy in good conditions, without having to worry about the law. Schneck shows is that it doesn’t mean that her abortion was easy: she felt the consequences until several decades later. By showing that an abortion is difficult regardless of one’s background, Schneck gives us an example that shows that abortion of convenience does not exist.
Issue Date:2018-09-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Anne-Bénédicte M. Harmon
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-06
Date Deposited:2018-12

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