Debate Magazine

The Right to Life: France v Texas. (avis: Ici Est Un Peu De Polémique)

Posted on the 11 October 2021 by Doggone

 OK, this is my French homework. Those who might read my personal blog know that I am studying for the DELF level B2 French language proficiency test. This was inspired by the reportage from the France 24 evening news and Le Monde's coverage of Macron's and Badinter's speech at the Pantheon (read the other linked articles) . It's been translated, but you can read the original french version at my blog, which is linked to on the left ("Encore mes devoirs: un peu de polémique"):

The right to life: France v Texas. (avis: ici est un peu de polémique)

The Texas Rangers take a lesson from the Gestapo.


The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, says he believes everyone has a right to life. This is fascinating since Texas has both the death penalty and the "stand your ground" law. Self-defence laws change the concept of self-defence to depend on the subjective fear of the person invoking this legal defence. In contrast, Emmanuel Macron wants to "relaunch the fight for the universal abolition" of the death penalty, which he announced in a speech made at the Pantheon to mark the 40th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in France. There is a clear difference between the attitude towards the right to life in Texas and in France. 

The Texas government seems to believe that the death penalty is effective in preventing crime: even extrajudicial killings. But is the death penalty effective in preventing crime? One of Britain's former executioners, Albert Pierrepoint, disagrees. He said: "It didn't deter them then and it didn't deter them when they committed what they were convicted of. All the men and women I faced at that final moment convince me that in what I did, I did not prevent a single murder...". Robert Badinter, the former Minister of Justice who led the repeal of the use of death Penalty in France in 1981, agrees with "absolute conviction: the death penalty is doomed to disappear in the world because it is a disgrace for humanity. It does not defend society, it dishonours it (...). Long live universal abolition! 

One moves from criminal justice issues to health issues when linking the right to life to family planning choices. Instead, Texas chose to remake Claude Chabrol's Une Affaire des femmes. It is a story set during the German occupation of France. It is based on the true story of Marie-Louise Giraud, one of the last women guillotined in France. Madame Giraud's crime was to provide abortions to poor women in France. The Texas law may not be so extreme, but the effect is the same: it is the poor who will be affected by this law. Wealthy women will be able to go to places where abortion is legal, which is not an option for the poor. 

The abortion providers for the poor would be women like Ms. Giraud, not medical professionals, but women who want to help other women. I have to wonder if Texas really understands what a criminal justice system should do? Does it seek justice or revenge?

Hey, I could have gone on a lot longer if I had the time. I would really pass the examination if I could crank out something like this during the exam!


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