Words by Rebecca Fearn.
Emma Watson is known for her feminist campaigning, and the star’s latest demonstration of activism comes through her open letter to Dr. Savita Halappanavar, a woman who died in 2012 after being denied an abortion in Ireland.
Savita died after experiencing a septic miscarriage at 17 weeks into her pregnancy and – despite requesting one early on and needing one to potentially save her life – was denied an abortion as doctors could already detect a heartbeat (meaning abortion was illegal).
Investigation into her death proved there had been 13 opportunities for Savita to be saved while she was in the care of doctors at Galway University Hospital.
Working with Porter, Emma shared a letter to Dr Savita, making it clear that Savita’s tragic death was one of the main catalysts for the Irish abortion referendum this year.
The letter begins:
“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.”
It then continues:
“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…”
“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.”
Emma finished the letter on a positive note, suggesting more work needs to be done but that we must look to the future:
“In your memory, and towards our liberation, we continue the fight for reproductive justice.”
You can read the full letter in Emma’s post above or here on Porter.