"Savita, you didn’t want to become the face of a movement; you wanted a procedure that would have saved your life, Emma wrote.

Emma Watson pays tribute to Dr Savita who died after being denied an abortion in Ireland
news Human Rights Monday, October 01, 2018 - 18:45

On October 21, 2012, 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar's husband was told by her doctors that his wife's life was at risk. But the doctors at the University Hospital in Ireland's Galway did not abort her baby, despite the risk to Savitha's life, as the country's law had forbidden it.  On October 28, Savita, a young doctor who hailed from Belgaum district of Karnataka, died after a miscarriage.

Savita’s death brought to fore a massive movement to repeal Ireland’s eighth amendment and a few months ago the country finally made abortions legal.

Six years after her death, actor Emma Watson has penned a beautiful and moving letter to Savita Halappanavar in Porter Magazine.

“Dear Savita Halappanavar, You didn’t want to become the face of a movement; you wanted a procedure that would have saved your life,” Emma Watson wrote.

Emma Watson emphasized on multiple movements for social justice and offered a reminder of how rare it is to bring about change. She lauds Savita for being an inspiration for thousands to come forward and demand that the eighth amendment be repealed.

Here is the full letter Emma Watson wrote in Porter Magazine:

Dear Dr Savita Halappanavar,

You didn’t want to become the face of a movement; you wanted a procedure that would have saved your life. When news of your death broke in 2012, the urgent call to action from Irish activists reverberated around the world – repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution. Time and again, when our local and global communities collectively mourn a tragic death due to social injustice, we pay tribute, mobilize and proclaim: rest in power. A promise to the departed and a rallying call to society, we chant: never again. But it is rare that justice truly prevails for those whose deaths come to symbolize structural inequality. Rarer still is a historic feminist victory that emboldens the fight for reproductive justice everywhere.

Your family and friends were gracious and galvanizing in their sharing of your memory. They told us you were passionate and vivacious, a natural-born leader. I heard that at Diwali in 2010 you won dancer of the night, going on to choreograph routines with children in your community. I watch the video of you dancing in Galway’s 2011 St Patrick’s Day parade and am moved to tears by your thousand-watt smile and palpable enthusiasm. Sharing their mourning and hope with the world, your family publicly supported the Together for Yes campaign. Celebrating repeal, your father expressed his “gratitude to the people of Ireland”. In reciprocity, I heard Ireland’s ‘repealers’ say that they owe your family a great debt.

A note on your memorial in Dublin read, “Because you slept, many of us woke.” That the eighth amendment enabled valuing the life of an unborn fetus over a living woman was a wake-up call to a nation. For you, and those forced to travel to the UK to access safe, legal abortion, justice was hard-won. From Argentina to Poland, restrictive abortion laws punish and endanger girls, women and pregnant people. Still, Northern Ireland’s abortion law predates the lightbulb. In your memory, and towards our liberation, we continue the fight for reproductive justice.

With all my love and solidarity,

Emma Watson

On May 26, 2018 after a referendum, the eight amendment was finally repealed in Ireland and the law came to be known as 'Savita’s Law' unofficially in the Catholic country.

Months after her death, an inquiry found that there had been 13 opportunities to save Savita’s life over a span of seven days when she was under medical supervision. The medical report after her death had suggested that she would not have died if she would have been allowed to abort her child.

According to Porter Magazine, The Irish government is expected to introduce the new legislation by the end of the year which covers unrestricted abortions for up to 12 weeks, with exceptions for pregnancies up to 24 weeks if the woman’s health is at risk. The new legislation has already been named ‘Savita’s law’.

Apart from acting, Emma Watson has been recognised for her works as an activist and agent of change. She is also an outspoken feminist who launched the ‘HeForShe’ campaign at the UN in 2014. 



Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.