Britain's May faces calls to relax Northern Ireland abortion rules

Britain's May faces calls to relax Northern Ireland abortion rules

Britain's May faces calls to relax Northern Ireland abortion rules

The Irish people voted Friday to repeal a 1983 constitutional amendment banning abortion rights for women with 66.4% in favor, a almost 2-1 victory for the nation's "yes" campaign, BBC reports.

The Irish Sun on Sunday pictured two women hugging under the headline "No more lonely journeys" in reference to those who had been forced to travel to England to have an abortion.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, has said he will give thanks in prayer to the "courageous" people who took part in the No campaign in the referendum.

"That hope must be met", she added.

A spokeswoman for May said on Sunday (May 27) changing the rules should only be undertaken by a government in Northern Ireland, which has been without a devolved executive since January past year after a power-sharing agreement collapsed.

"Northern Ireland is a very different kind of society", said Theresa Reidy, a political scientist at University College Cork in Ireland.

Illegal abortions could be punished with up to 14 years in prison.

Abortions are now only legal in Northern Ireland if the life or mental health of the mother is at risk.

Both Lives Matter, an anti-abortion organisation in Northern Ireland, has called on the police to arrest pro-choice activists and seize abortion pills when the bus arrives.

Since the collapse of a power sharing administration in Northern Ireland, British officials have been taking major decisions in the region and this means the government could legislate directly despite health being a devolved issue. NI did not have a constitutional imperative on abortion it is governed by laws that can be changed.

Some members of her cabinet immediately supported the opposition in calling for new legislation to legalize terminations.

"This is an injustice".

Fatal foetal abnormalities and conceptions by rape or incest are not lawful grounds for a termination.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill, leader of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, hold up a placard as they celebrate the result of yesterday's referendum on liberalizing abortion law, in Dublin, Ireland, May 26, 2018.

Ms Milton said the Northern Irish system is "anomalous", adding it "doesn't feel quite right" that the NHS in England now funds free abortions for Northern Irish women who don't have the right to them.

It was a comprehensive verdict, with 66.4% voting in favour of the amendment.

The electorate voted by an overwhelming majority to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

This creates a fresh headache for May who is already struggling to unite her top ministers over plans to leave the European Union and is facing the prospect of a series of rebellions in parliament over her Brexit plans.

While the seriousness of the issue was certainly not lost on any citizen who took part in the vote, the enormous relief brought out a few scenes of odd joy as the crowd was told by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that "Ireland will still be the same country today as it was before, just a little more tolerant, open and respectful".

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