Published: Sun, May 27, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Ireland set to repeal abortion ban after historic referendum

Ireland set to repeal abortion ban after historic referendum

"This is about women taking their rightful place in Irish society, finally".

The results of the vote led to an outpouring of emotion from the crowd of protestors, with many chanting the "Savita, Savita", in reference to dentist Savita Halappanavar, 31, whose tragic death in 2012 sparked global outrage.

Ireland's Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said Saturday she expects new abortion legislation to be in place before the end of the year. Varadkar, Ireland's first openly gay head of government, campaigned for the the appeal.

The Church's influence has waned in recent years following a series of child sex abuse scandals.

An exit poll for The Irish Times newspaper suggested 70 percent of women and 65 percent of men voted to overturn the ban.

Among people aged 18 to 24, 87.6 percent supported the repeal, compared to 63.7 percent of people aged 50 to 64.

As he left Dublin Castle, he stopped for selfies and chatted with the handful of Yes-supporters still in the forecourt. Saturday's referendum result will likely see the amendment repealed before the year is out.

With counting ongoing before the first constituency declaration, the official Together for Yes campaign to repeal the abortion ban said they had passed more than a million votes, and were running at 68 percent support.

In Dublin, many voters welcomed the expected overwhelming result.

Smyth told CNN that the road to get to this day had been a long and hard one, but the result marked a seismic shift for the country.

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Savita's family have been campaigning for the repeal, and her father Andanappa Yalagi said last week, "I strongly feel that the younger daughters of Ireland should not have the fate of Savita".

"The people have spoken", Mr. Varadkar said following Friday's vote.

Abortion is still banned in some 20 countries worldwide, while others have highly restrictive laws in place. In Europe, only Malta and Poland have similar bans.

All of Ireland's 40 voting regions tallied so far voted in favor of doing away with the amendment, which required authorities to defend the lives of a mother and a fetus equally.

Granted, the severity of this issue is not lost on any Irish citizen, regardless of the way they voted, but after hearing that the Eighth Amendment will be repealed, a lady named Saundra Stephen started to share some After Eight chocolates with those in attendance. Terminating a pregnancy carries a 14-year maximum jail term. The laws prohibit abortion while the foetus is live, even if there is a threat to the mother's life.

The ban has led to thousands of women travelling each year to neighbouring Britain, where terminations are legal, or increasingly turning to abortion pills sold online.

Since 1983, around 170,000 Irish women have gone overseas for terminations. "I'm so heartened to know so many of my fellow citizens reflected on this debate and came to trust women".

There will be provision for conscientious objection among medical practitioners, although doctors will be obliged to transfer care of the pregnant woman to another doctor.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar votes as Ireland holds a referendum on liberalizing its law on abortion, in Dublin, Ireland, May 25, 2018.

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