English Actress Emma Watson Pens Open Letter to Indian Woman Who Died After Denied Abortion in Ireland

Ireland’s strict abortion laws didn’t allow doctors to terminate Savita Halappanavar’s pregnancy, which led to her death due to septic miscarriage in 2012.


English actress Emma Watson has written an open letter to Indian-origin dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died at age of 31 years in 2012 due to septic miscarriage after being denied abortion in Ireland. Watson’s letter was published a day after the International Safe Abortion Day, which falls on Sept.28. 

“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,” the Harry Potter star wrote in her open letterwhich was published on Net-a-Porter website on Sept.29. 

“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,” Watson said in the letter written in memory of Halappanavar. 

In your memory, and towards our liberation, we continue the fight for reproductive justice,” she added. 

Halappanavar died on Oct. 28, 2012 with a pregnancy of 17 weeks in University Hospital Galway in Ireland. She had gone to hospital complaining of severe back pain a week before her death. Doctors found that she was miscarrying, but they turned down her request for terminating the pregnancy as they were able to detect the fetus’ heartbeat.   

Her death due to septic miscarriage caused by denial of abortion brought her in the center of a debate over Ireland’s abortion laws, which make it illegal to terminate pregnancy. After continuous demands to amend the stringent laws, Ireland went through a historic referendum in May this year, in which over 65 percent votes were cast in favor of legalizing abortion. 

Ireland is now expected to introduce a law that will allow legal abortions, National Public Radio (NPR) reported last month. Ireland President Michael D. Higgins signed the abortion referendum bill to convert it into law in September this year.  

The bill strikes off the Eighth Amendment from law books, which has been giving an unborn child and living mother equal right of life. 

The abortion process will be made cost-free for women, so that they are no longer forced to travel to other countries for abortion, NPR cited Irish Health Minister Simon Harris as saying. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *