This forgotten news that led to the legalization of contraception in France 

Marie-Andrée Lagroua Weill-Hallé, founder in March 1956 of the association “Maternité heureux”, which will become the French Movement for Family Planning in 1960, in April 1968 in Paris (Photo by AFP)
In “Sad pregnancies”, the historians Danièle Voldman and Annette Wieviorka exhume the case of the couple Bac, a news item became a fact of society, which gave birth in the 1950s to the movement for contraception.

It is a defect of the manufacture of the law in France. Very often, those who change the course of history are given a unique name, that of the minister or the elected representative who presents the text to the Assembly. Thus, years of collective struggles and activist work to raise awareness of public opinion and the political sphere are invisible to the benefit of the courage of one person, who receives all the merits. This is the case of the Veil Act, authorizing abortion (abortion) in 1975, and a fortiori the Neuwirth Act, named after Senator Lucien Neuwirth, who authorizes contraception in 1967. His fiftieth birthday (in 2017 ) has shown that the thirties have little memory, unlike the law Veil. This is to say if his genealogy has gone to the trap in the collective memory.

“Five pregnancies in five years”

In Sad pregnancies – The case of the married Bac (1953-1956) , published this January 10th at Seuil, they go back to the origin of the movement in favor of contraception in France. This one would not have emerged without the chance meeting between the gynecologist Marie-Andrée Lagroua Weill-Hallé, founder of the association Happy Maternity (which became Family Planning) and a news item in the mid-1950s, of which she knew how to seize herself. In 1954, Ginette and Claude Bac, aged 25, were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for letting their fourth child, who was eight months old, die for want of care.

The case of the husband and wife Bac is not at first one. The press is largely indifferent to the fate of this working-class couple, whose drama is struggling to find a place in the news column. Le Monde is still an article, the day after the judgment: “Unworthy parents are sentenced to imprisonment” , without seeking further. L’Humanité specifies in an intertitle that Ginette Bac knew “five pregnancies in five years” . Nobody thinks then that the case Bac will question the law of 1920 prohibiting propaganda contraceptives and plead for the fight of women to control their fertility.

“To move, to understand, you need a tragic story”

In exhuming their legal record, Danièle Voldman and Annette Wieviorka describe in detail the miserable living conditions of the couple in Saint-Ouen, and the fatal sequence of unwanted births, to the drama of the death of their granddaughter. The day after that, her father – who was working overtime to feed his four children – said to the commissioner: “It was you who during your observations showed me the horror of the condition of my child because I examined him then closely and naked . I thought about deportee body visions “. He had never seen his baby undressed. Ginette Bac’s lawyer, Odile Flory (last survivor of the case, with whom the authors spoke in 2017), may point to a tragedy of misery and lack of information, nothing helps .

In parallel with this case, the gynecologist Marie-Andrée Lagroua Weill-Hallé (this “heroic fighter of the heroic times, the first of them, even” ) observed in the United States the advances of the birth control(birth control) under the influence of feminist and anarchist activist Margaret Sanger, who founded the Planned Parenthood. It is with reference to this experience that Lagroua Weill-Hallé founded the family planning a few years later. Returning to France, she pleads in a scientific journal for a challenge to the 1920 law. She denounces the inequalities between rich and poor families in the practice of birth control, and the bullying suffered by women hospitalized after an abortion. The schizophrenia of the representatives of the law vis-a-vis the means contraceptives is patent according to her. But his article has no echo.“To move, to gain acceptance, to understand, requires a tragic story capable of upsetting public opinion and making it accessible to the issue of birth control. This will be the Case Bac “, write the historians.

Church and PCF in ambush 

During the second trial of the couple Bac, following a defect form, in 1955, she is a spontaneous witness. His speech impresses. The media relay it. It makes the jury understand the consequences of non-voluntary maternity, so that the sentence of the spouses is reduced to two years in prison, already accomplished. Faced with resistance from the medical community, she organized a press campaign , “for the free access of French women to the means to avoid unwanted pregnancies”, with the journalist at LibérationJacques Derogy. The taboo is broken. Yet it will take another dozen years for contraceptive activists to win. Besides the Catholic Church, they face an unexpected opponent: the PCF.“The road to the liberation of women passes by social reforms, by the social revolution, and not by abortion clinics” , dares to declare the secretary general of the “great party of the working class”, Maurice Thorez, who fears that the proletarian transforms himself into a pleasure-giver, and turns away from the revolution … “Their de facto alliance delayed for a dozen years the end of the penalization of the contraceptive propaganda with the vote of the law Neuwirth on December 19, 1967 “ , Conclude Annette Wieviorka and Danièle Voldman.

Danièle Voldman, Annette Wieviorka, Sad Pregnancy, The Case of the Spouses Bac (1953-1956) , 192 p., 18 € (released on January 10)

Source: This forgotten news that led to the legalization of contraception in France – Les Inrocks

A Cookbook Created From Picnicking In Paris

The newly released cookbook Paris Picnic Club is not only a collection of international recipes with fresh and sometimes powerful tastes but is also an inadvertent guidebook to mainstream and offbeat markets and food stores within Paris. One premise of the book is that cooking within a Parisian home kitchen (often small and lacking storage space) requires frequent shopping. If you are in Paris and searching for Breton artichokes, Arcachon oysters, Alsatian cherries, Brillat-Savarin cheese or Korean red chili flakes—the book’s sidebars and recipe introductions will direct you to food outlets that include La Grand Epicerie on Rue de Sèvres, the Korean supermarket on Rue Saint-Anne or Sébastien Gaudard Pâtisserie in Montmartre.

Yet you don’t have to live in Paris to enjoy this cookbook.

Paris Picnic Club illustrates how Parisian and French foods celebrate the cuisines of varied cultures. Continue reading “A Cookbook Created From Picnicking In Paris”

The stuff of the best 2017 wine reads: Everyman advice, a con man, a legendary region


WINE | Our columnist’s top picks include works by Jon Bonné, Peter Liem and Peter Hellman.

Wine writers attempt to reveal wine’s mysteries, strip away its pretensions, simplify its immense variety. Of course, if we ever succeed, no one would need us anymore.

The latest to try is Jon Bonné, with “ The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know ” (Ten Speed Press, $15). This slim volume of practical advice — each of the 89 new “rules” is just a few paragraphs — headlines this holiday season’s books for the wine lovers on your gift list.

Bonné is an authoritative voice. He is a senior contributing editor for Punch, an online drinks publication, a former wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, author of “The New California Wine” and the forthcoming “The New French Wine,” and an occasional contributor to The Washington Post Food section.

As you might suspect, the premise of “The New Wine Rules” is that the old rules no longer apply. Bonné told me in an interview that he didn’t want to write the traditional basic wine book. “You can Google grape varieties,” he said. “I wanted to write for people who are already buying wine and want to know enough about it to enjoy it, and maybe to hold their own when they run up against someone who claims to know everything about wine in an obnoxious way.” [ . . . ]

Read More: The stuff of the best 2017 wine reads: Everyman advice, a con man, a legendary region

The fascination with Fidel Castro of Saint-Germain-des-Prés 60s

In the 1960s, French intellectuals and artists, Gérard Philipe Jean-Paul Sartre, flocked to Havana, fascinated by the Cuban revolution. For them, Fidel Castro, died on the night of Friday to Saturday, will incarnate “hope”, at least for a time.Fidel Castro arrived when Stalinism was beginning to decline in ideals. He embodied hope, as something salutary, “said Jean Daniel, co-founder of L’Observateur, which then journalist with L’Express, met with Cuban in 1963. When on 1 January 1959, on the balcony of Santiago city Hall Cuba, Castro proclaimed the “beginning of the Revolution,” it is not yet a Marxist. But it is undeniably left and represents a great hope to some intellectuals after the Stalinist debacle.

Read Full Story: The fascination with Fidel Castro of Saint-Germain-des-Prés 60s

‘I like the way he kisses my hand’: My grandmother’s life in jazz age Paris | Life and style | The Guardian

It was a surprise to learn that her grandmother lived in Paris in the 1920s. Reading the letters she wrote home was even more revealing

Source: ‘I like the way he kisses my hand’: My grandmother’s life in jazz age Paris | Life and style | The Guardian