Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Repeal Abortion Ban

27 May, 2018, 02:44 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
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A leading campaigner for repealing Ireland's constitutional ban on abortions says it's a "monumental day for women in Ireland" after voters appeared to have overwhelmingly backed liberalizing the country's strict abortion laws. The RTE exit poll shows 69.4% voting "yes" and 30.6% "no".

Calling the result a culmination of a "quiet revolution" that had been gaining strength in the last 20 years, Varadkar said the large margin of victory will give his government a greater mandate when enacting new abortion legislation through parliament.

Ireland has voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment of its constitution, two major exit polls are projecting.

"The people have said that we want a modern constitution for a modern country, that we trust women and we respect them to make the right decisions and the right choices about their own healthcare", Varadkar said as counting continued Saturday afternoon.

Leo Varadkar accused campaigners opposing a referendum on liberalising Ireland's abortion regime of trying to dupe voters.

"If we don't remove the Amendment from the constitution, our doctors and lawmakers can't do anything for women", he said.

In 1992, it was written into law that women could travel overseas to seek terminations, which has resulted in thousands of women travelling to Britain each year for abortions.

The eight amendment, introduced in 1983, enshrined in Irish law the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child.

Voters backed the removal of a wide-ranging constitutional block on terminations by about 68 percent to 32 percent, according to exit poll of about 4,500 voters commissioned by the Irish Times.


Elections officials said on Saturday more than 1.4 million voters favoured repealing the ban while roughly 724,000 wanted to keep it in place.

If confirmed, the outcome will be the latest milestone on a path of change for a country which only legalised divorce by a razor thin majority in 1995 before becoming the first in the world to adopt gay marriage by popular vote three years ago.

"For him [his son], it's a different Ireland that we're moving onto".

Abortions are only allowed in Northern Ireland if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her physical or mental health.

The liberalisation campaign gathered momentum in 2012 after an Indian dentist, Savita Halappanavar, died in hospital in Galway aged 31 when she was refused an abortion during a miscarriage.

He adds: "I certainly think anyone in the Oireachtas has their right to make their views known, but those in the Oireachtas also have bosses and those bosses are the people of Ireland.and they've spoken clearly today".

The vote divided political parties, saw the once-mighty Catholic Church take a back seat, with the campaign defined by women on both sides publicly describing their personal experiences of terminations.

"This campaign does not end with the referendum, but when the government properly supports the mother and child", the Pro Life Campaign said.

"We will hold the Taoiseach to his promise that repeal would only lead to abortion in very restrictive circumstances".

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