Emma Watson penned an emotional letter to the Indian dentist who died in 2012 after being denied an abortion in Ireland. Her death propelled a women's rights movement that would eventually result in abortions becoming legal in the country.
The 28-year-old actress has been a women’s rights activist for a number of years: She is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and has donated millions of pounds into programs and organisations that work towards the protection of women and children.
In the letter, written for Net-A-Porter, she wrote the death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist who died at University of Galway in Ireland following a septic miscarriage, had ‘empowered the determination of activists to change Irish abortion laws and fight for reproductive justice all over the world.’
Watson added that her tragic end and the consequent passing of the eighth amendment:
…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.
The 13th Amendment – which was abolished earlier this year – had prohibited abortions. An inquiry into her death found that there had been 13 missed opportunities to save her life in the seven days she was under medical supervision before her death.
She called the result of Ireland’s referendum – in which over 65 per cent voted to legalise abortion – a ‘historic feminist victory that emboldens the fight for reproductive justice everywhere.’