Irish Citizens Vote to Repeal its National Abortion Ban by a Landslide

Irish Citizens Vote to Repeal its National Abortion Ban by a Landslide

People celebrate the results of referendum on liberalising abortion laws.

Campaigners who have fought for more than three decades to remove the eighth amendment abortion ban from Ireland's constitution hailed the referendum vote as a major breakthrough in a largely Catholic nation that has already seen a wave of social liberalisation in recent years.

Almost all of the voting regions counted so far backed repeal of the 1983 amendment and making parliament responsible for enacting abortion laws. The day we came of age as a country.

"I believe that as people reflect on the current situation in Ireland, where women are forced overseas to have a termination, where women are purchasing abortion pills illegally online and where women in extremely hard situations are left isolated and neglected, that the Irish people will vote to repeal the eighth amendment".

In March, Ireland's Health Minister, Simon Harris, outlined what this government legislation would look like if the people voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who campaigned to repeal the laws, had called the vote a once-in-a-generation chance and voters responded by turning out in droves.

Turnout for landmark referendum was at record levels, with more than 64 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot.

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"Today is a historic day for Ireland", Varadkar said at a press conference.

"Everyone deserves a second chance.

If there is a "Yes" vote, Ireland will still be the same place, just a place that is a little bit more compassionate, a little kinder and a little more understanding that it has been".

"If we vote "yes" every unborn, wanted and unwanted, will have zero rights", wrote Frances Kelleher, from Killarney. "The people will not take direction from the church anymore".

But opponents of the repeal movement have conceded they have no chance of victory. The group said on its website that the referendum was a "tragedy of historic proportions", but McGuirk said the vote must still be respected. "However, a wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it".

The vote repeals the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution - a 1983 measure that conferred equal rights on the fetus and the mother and banned abortion under nearly all circumstances.

Since early 2014, abortions have been allowed if the life of the mother is in danger.

Roscommon, in the rural interior, the only county to say no to same-sex marriage, also voted yes in the abortion referendum.

Campaigners for change, wearing "Repeal" jumpers and "Yes" badges, gathered at count centers, many in tears and hugging each other.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is pushing to cut even more federal funding from Planned Parenthood, and Kentucky and Oklahoma are just the latest states to declare war on the medical procedure.

Together For Yes, the umbrella group leading the campaign for an affirmative vote, has used the slogan "trust women" to argue that they should be allowed to make important decisions about their own lives and families.

"This is a huge step forward for Ireland", Mr Coveney said.

Halappanavar was admitted to University hospital in Galway on 21 October 2012, when she was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child.

Former chairman of Ireland's Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Eamon McGuinness, says doctors should provide counselling and care; he's voting No.

Emma Jayne Geraghty, who works for Amnesty International Canada in Toronto, said she is going home to vote because she once had to leave the country to access abortion services in the United Kingdom.



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