Irish turn attention to parliament as abortion ban voted out

28 May, 2018, 09:46 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • People from the

"I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland at this historic moment". "This has been a great exercise of democracy, and the people have spoken". Varadkar wants to remove the current language on abortion, paving the way for terminations up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy and only in very limited circumstances - such as a fatal abnormality - after that.

Attention is turning Sunday to Ireland's parliament now that the country's citizens have voted in landslide numbers to remove the abortion ban from its constitution.

The forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill promised by ministers could be used as a vehicle for MPs hoping to change the law in Northern Ireland.

"The attorney general has been very vocal in the recent past in defending the arrest of people who import these illegal pills in Northern Ireland, and he should continue to fulfil his role in defending the law". She added that the province's long history of sectarian violence known as the Troubles has created a divisive political system that has difficulty getting beyond Catholics versus Protestants.

Another demonstrator from Belfast said the Republic of Ireland was "giving a voice to women".

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.

Laws on terminations in the region date back to the 19th Century and theoretically a woman found guilty of having an abortion could face life in prison.

The issue is considered a devolved matter in the United Kingdom which means the Northern Ireland assembly is responsible for enacting any law on abortion.

Amnesty has a petition lobbying the British government for change and it is using the #ItsTime and #NoWomanLeftBehind hashtags to help promote the message.


Several Westminster politicians suggested on Saturday that the government should bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK.

Most women from Northern Ireland, who are seeking an abortion, travel to Britain.

He said Saturday would be remembered as the day Ireland "stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light".

In the Sunday Independent, Jody Corcoran said the big pro-choice vote "maximises to a visceral, guttural roar what must amount to be a demand to end decades of hypocrisy and shame".

"The government I lead will not be one of left or right", he said at the time. Or will it accept that the British people are no less rational or compassionate than the Irish people? May's minority government depends on 10 MPs from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to remain in power.

Irish Catholics attending Sunday Mass were disappointed with the result of a referendum in which voters opted to legalise abortion and think it reflects the weakening of the church - a situation that was unthinkable in Ireland a generation ago.

"First of all I know our minds and our eyes turn to the north, where there is a need for clear, comprehensive abortion legislation to be introduced to give the women in Northern Ireland access to the care that they need".

But the DUP strongly oppose abortion.

Q&A What is the law on abortion in Northern Ireland?

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