Ireland projected to overturn abortion ban in landslide vote

26 May, 2018, 18:27 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Yes and no campaigners

The main group opposing the liberalisation of Ireland's abortion law conceded on Saturday that it has lost Friday's referendum by an overwhelming margin, a spokesman said. "I've a family myself and I think it's really important", said John Devlin, a marketing worker in his 50s who voted "No" near Dublin's city center. "Democracy in action. It's looking like we will make history tomorrow".

The result is expected to be close after a polarising campaign, but the latest polls suggest voters are ready to overturn the ban.

"The public have spoken".

Voters were asked if they wanted to retain or repeal the amendment, with a reversal of the law then adding a new clause to the constitution that would empower Parliament to legislate for abortion.

The UN Human Rights Committee has been calling for an end to Ireland's near-total abortion ban for long, but it was the case of an India-origin woman that sparked a rebellion.

If the exit poll is confirmed, Malta will be the only European Union country to have a complete ban on abortion.

"For him (his son), it's a different Ireland that we're moving onto".

Abortion was illegal in Ireland under the Offences against the Person Act of 1861, but when contraception was legalised in 1974, there was concern from many conservatives that abortions would follow.

Save the Eighth, meanwhile, decried the results and vowed to obstruct legislation liberalizing abortion every inch of the way.

The group, in a statement on its website, said the voters had committed "a tragedy of historic proportions".

Following Halappanavar's death, abortion is only legal if the mother is at risk of near-death.

The country once known for its strong Catholic heritage and identity voted in 2015 to amend its constitution to permit same-sex "marriage".

A counting station
PAAn exit poll is a poll of voters taken as they leave polling stations

The law was tweaked in 2013 to allow terminations if the mother's life is at risk.

Repealing the amendment means that abortion could be regulated as it is in both the United States and the United Kingdom, clearing the way for Ireland's government to implement more liberal abortion laws.

Niamh Gavin holding her 5-year-old daughter Fiadh casts her vote in the midlands town of Athlone in the Ireland abortion referendum.

The RTE exit poll shows 69.4% voting "yes" and 30.6% "no".

He said the Supreme Court has warned that "removal of this protection will leave the unborn child with no constitutional rights, which is a huge step". And as voting began across the country Friday, if recent polling is any indication, their answer is likely to be closely contested.

Thousands of Irish people overseas travelled home to take part in the historic referendum, and supporters of repeal gathered at Dublin Airport to give arrivals an ecstatic welcome.

Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, who chaired the investigation, last week called on voters to back the repeal of the clause, saying it tied doctors' hands.

Varadkar's government has proposed that if the amendment is repealed, abortion will be allowed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

Tara Flynn, who 11 years ago flew to the Netherlands for an abortion, said she planned to vote "yes" to make sure future generations of women don't endure what she did, with feelings of isolation and shame.

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

"It is inevitable that the abortion industry based in Great Britain will set up clinics in border towns", he said.

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