Emma Watson writes tribute to 'passionate and vivacious' Savita Halappanavar

Emma Watson writes tribute to 'passionate and vivacious' Savita Halappanavar

The actor, Emma Watson, has written a passionate tribute to Savita Halappanavar ahead of the sixth anniversary of her passing, saying "we continue the fight for reproductive justice".

Ms Halappanavar died following complications arising from a septic miscarriage and failings in her care at University Hospital Galway on October 28, 2012.

Her tragic death is widely seen as one of the factors behind the repeal of the Eighth Amendment earlier this year.

Fashion magazine Porter published Ms Watson's letter which spoke of Ms Halappanavar as “a natural-born leader” and praised her "gracious" family and friends for taking part in the Repeal the 8th campaign.

Ms Halappanavar's parents
Ms Halappanavar's parents

The activist, who has fought on many issues, including reproductive rights and global sustainability, started her letter with "You didn’t want to become the face of a movement; you wanted a procedure that would have saved your life.”

Saying that the fight for reproductive justice is still ongoing, Ms Watson noted that "Northern Ireland’s abortion law predates the lightbulb".

"That the eighth amendment enabled valuing the life of an unborn fetus over a living woman was a wake-up call to a nation,” she said.

“From Argentina to Poland, restrictive abortion laws punish and endanger girls, women and pregnant people."

Ms Halappanavar's inquest returned a verdict of medical misadventure finding that there were systemic failures or deficiencies in the care given to her before she died.

The letter in full reads as follows:

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.

Emma Watson writes tribute to 'passionate and vivacious' Savita Halappanavar

With all my love and solidarity,

Emma Watson

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