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Live: France pays final respects to women’s rights icon Simone Veil

AFP

French leaders on Wednesday are paying their final respects to Holocaust survivor and pro-choice lawmaker Simone Veil, who died on Friday at 89. FRANCE 24 is broadcasting her national tribute at Paris's Invalides monument live.

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Veil, a Holocaust survivor who went on to become a widely respected politician in France and the EU Parliament, is regarded as a champion for women’s rights.

President Emmanuel Macron and all the members of his government will gather in central Paris for a solemn funeral procession. Former French presidents and prime ministers, as well as foreign leaders, will also be in attendance.

European flags will fly at half-mast on public buildings throughout France on Wednesday, while French flags will be tied with a black ribbon.

Veil’s remains will then be laid to rest at Montparnasse cemetery, next to her husband Antoine Veil, who died in 2013.

Her standout achievement as a politician came when she shepherded a 1974 abortion law through parliament after a 25-hour debate during which she endured a torrent of abuse, with some lawmakers likening pregnancy terminations to the Holocaust.

The legislation – named the "Loi Veil" (Veil Law) – is today considered a cornerstone of women's rights and secularism in France.

After a second term as health minister under Socialist president François Mitterrand, Veil last held major public office between 1998 and 2007, when she was a member of France's Constitutional Council.

She served as EU Parliament president for three years.

Current EU parliament president Antonio Tajani on Monday described her as "one of the great figures of our time, who marked the history of Europe and made a notable contribution to the development of our parliament".

Click on the player below to watch France’s national tribute to Simone Veil live

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