Ireland Votes to Repeal Abortion Ban After Contentious National Debate

Posted May 27, 2018

The main group opposing the liberalization of Ireland's abortion law conceded on Saturday that it has lost Friday's referendum on the issue by an overwhelming margin, a spokesperson said. "I'm especially grateful to the women of Ireland who came forward to provide their personal testimony about the hard times that they endured, the stress and the trauma that they experienced because of the eighth amendment".

"Under the Eighth Amendment, the only thing we could say to women in this country was 'Take a flight or take a boat, ' " Health Minister Simon Harris told Irish broadcaster RTE.

In the case of a fatal foetal abnormality an abortion can also be carried out.

Reform in Ireland also raised the prospect that women in Northern Ireland, where abortion is still illegal, may start travelling south of the border.

The vote will remove a 1983 amendment that required Irish authorities to defend the lives of a woman and a fetus equally on nearly all abortions. Others sang songs in the sunshine outside the main Dublin results center as they awaited the official result. From morning, however, it has seemed clear that overnight predictions of a massive vote for constitutional change were accurate.?? "Now more than ever it is time for the United Kingdom government to show the same respect for the women of Northern Ireland". A hundred years since women got the right to vote.

"A quiet revolution has taken place", Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, hailing a "remarkable" day.

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Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said Prime Minister Theresa May should push for a similar change in Northern Ireland.

The outcome was a historic victory for women's' rights in a traditionally Catholic country.

80 percent of the votes have been counted, according to the New York Times, but official results are expected on Saturday evening.

He said there appears to be "a greater than 2-to-1 majority in favor of amending our constitution".

Ireland has officially voted to drop its Eight Constitutional Amendment, claiming equal rights to a mother and a fetus, that had previously acted to impose a ban on abortions in the heavily religious nation.

"This is a monumental day for women in Ireland", Orla O'Connor, co-director of the Together for Yes group, said.

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Saturday's triumph for abortion reformers occurred only months before Pope Francis visits the country - the first since John Paul II's tour of Ireland in 1979.

Ciaran Cannon, Ireland's minister for the diaspora and global development, announced his No vote on Twitter.

"It was 26 hours travel each way", Clara Kumagi, who travelled back to Ireland from Japan.

Ireland has voted an emphatic "Yes" to amend the country's constitution to enable legislation that would allow women to have an abortion in a historic and emotionally charged referendum. The penalty for undergoing or performing an unlawful abortion is life imprisonment. A subsequent amendment was added allowing Irish women and girls to seek abortions overseas, and about 170,000 of them done so since 1980, The Journal reported.

Abortion is still banned in some 20 countries worldwide, while others have highly restrictive laws in place. Final results were due later on Saturday. Alliance for Choice (Northern Ireland's key grassroots activist group campaigning for abortion rights in the region) regularly campaigned for a Yes vote in the Irish counties bordering Northern Ireland.

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