Ireland praise historic 'Yes' vote on abortion

Casey Dawson
May 28, 2018

If the repeal vote wins, Ireland's political leadership has promised that Parliament will quickly pass a new law guaranteeing unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks, and beyond that in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities or serious risks to a mother's health.

The text says: "The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right". It outlawed all abortions until 2014, when the procedure started being allowed in rare cases when a woman's life was in danger. It isn't yet clear what strategy abortion opponents will use in parliament in light of the unexpectedly large vote in favour of repeal.

Results from urban centers were even more decisive. Dublin Central posted 76.5 percent for repeal, while two constituencies in the southern capital of Cork City polled 64 percent and nearly 69 percent.

The results are expected on Saturday.

But the laws changed in 1983 when the 8th Amendment was voted in. Perhaps more parents would choose children with this condition if they knew these facts.

That said, billions of dollars have been poured into the Emerald Isle from overseas to ensure a pro-abortion "Yes" vote.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Varadkar criticized those opposed to abortion for some campaign advertising.

The prime minister, a medical doctor who came to power a year ago, spoke to RTE News in advance of the announcement of the referendum's official results, expected later Saturday.

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

While some countries have conditions such as requiring authorisation by one or more doctors in place, these are not always a barrier in practice, she said.

In practice, it meant Irish women had to travel overseas for terminations.

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A constitutional amendment banned all abortions in Ireland in 1983. A leading anti-abortion group admitted defeat Saturday.

"Today I believe we have voted for the next generation", said Varadkar, who is Ireland's first openly gay leader as well as its first prime minister from an ethnic minority group.

On Friday, Irish voters will cast their ballots in a referendum which could end the country's ban on abortions.

She said her vote would be one for solidarity and compassion, "a vote to say, I don't send you away anymore". "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". "Not an Eighth Amendment issue".

Irish anti-abortion campaign groups have claimed that a Down's syndrome diagnosis could be used to access a termination under liberalised abortion laws.

But despite the "Repeal" campaign's landslide victory - with all but one constituency in Ireland voting "Yes" - the day after the referendum result was revealed, Irish women are still unable to access terminations in their own country.

"There was just so much solidarity with everyone I saw", Sweeney said.

From Buenos Aires to Los Angeles to Bangkok, nothing is going to stop some of these people from voting to repeal the ban, which falls under the country's eighth amendment.

Around two hours later Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, a vocal advocate for repeal, voted in the city. May to seize the opportunity to reform Northern Ireland's abortion law.

The Government's proposed legislation does not permit abortion on the grounds of pregnancies with diagnosis of disability.

Under pressure from the United Nations about alleged degrading treatment of women who travelled to England for terminations, the Irish Government began exploring the possibility of further reform, culminating in the calling of this referendum and the promise to legislate.

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