Ireland votes to liberalize abortion regime in landslide

Irish anti-abortion campaign concedes it has lost referendum

An Irish election official confirmed a landslide victory for abortion rights advocates as Ireland repealed its constitutional ban.

Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister (or Taoiseach as it's called in Ireland) said in a press conference,"Today is a historic day for Ireland".

Minister for Health Simon Harris has insisted the Government will seek to implement the decision of the people expressed in the abortion referendum as soon as is practicable.

"Our slogan has always been Free, Safe and Legal and we will continue to work to ensure that for everyone in Ireland who needs abortion care", the group said.

Although Irish women have been unhappy with the amendment since it was first introduced, it would take almost 25 years for it to be overturned.

"I think about her every day", he said.

Conceding defeat, the "No" campaign said: "What Irish voters did yesterday is a tragedy of historic proportions".

John McGuirk, spokesman for the Save the 8th group, told Irish television Saturday that many Irish citizens would not recognize the country in which they were waking up. Mr. O'Halloran said he believed that a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility that Irish people feel for visitors and newcomers weighed heavily on the conscience of the nation.

Meanwhile, the anti-abortion organization American Life League joined the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children to criticize Irish voters for the decision.

Credit PA
Credit PA

The referendum will remove the Eighth Amendment, which required Irish authorities to defend the lives of a woman and a fetus as equals under the law from the moment of conception. More than half of the country's 40 regions had been counted by 4 p.m. local time and showed 68 percent supporting the amendment's repeal. Lawmakers are now expected to debate proposed legislation allowing abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and after that in cases of fetal abnormalities or serious risks to the mother's health.

Counting is under way in the Irish referendum with exit polls suggesting voters backed a law change.

The Friday vote saw citizens effectively opt to either retain or repeal the Eighth Amendment of the country's Constitution, which prohibits terminations unless a mother's life is in danger.

Sinn Fein has called for a referendum on a united Ireland following the abortion poll.

It indicates about 72 percent of women voted "yes" along with about 66 percent of men.

Younger voters showed more support for overturning the amendment than older voters, according to RTÉ exit poll projections.

Like many Irish expatriates who returned home to vote, Coogan says she was motivated by a desire to, in her words, "create a better Ireland for our generation should we want to return, but (also) for the generations that are going to follow us".

The country has had one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws, which is enshrined in its constitution.

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