Ireland votes to overturn abortion ban in historic referendum

Ireland votes to overturn abortion ban in historic referendum

Ireland votes to overturn abortion ban in historic referendum

Supporters gather at Dublin Castle for the result Irish referendum result on the 8th amendment concerning the country's abortion laws on May 26, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland.

An untold number of those votes were cast by young Irish women now living overseas, like Ciara Coogan, who travelled home from where she works in France to participate.

"The public have spoken".

People pass a mural as Ireland goes to the polls to vote in the referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution.

"They are saying this is a country where we trust women and respect their choices".

Ireland's main anti-abortion campaign, Save the 8th, has conceded defeat as exit polls suggest a massive victory for the Yes voters of the country's historic abortion referendum.

On September 7, 1983, a vote was held and the Eighth Amendment was subsequently added to Ireland's constitution.

Women accessing illegal abortions can receive a maximum 14-year jail sentence, but the law allows them to travel overseas for an abortion, resulting in several thousand Irish women travelling to the United Kingdom each year to terminate their pregnancies.

Senator Catherine Noone, chairwoman of an Oireachtas committee which recommended the abortion law changes, tweeted: "I'm feeling very emotional tonight - we are a great, compassionate people". If the current ban is repealed, the number of places in Europe that outlaw abortions in most circumstances will dwindle down to only a handful of regions including Northern Ireland, likely pushing lawmakers there to weigh reversing course as well.

The outcome was a historic victory for women's rights in a traditionally Catholic country.

Support came not only from major cities like Dublin but rural areas.

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

While the official result is not due until later, it appears Ireland is on the cusp of a defining moment in its social history. An Indian dentist, she died in 2012 at 31 in Galway, Ireland, after being denied an abortion while naturally miscarrying.

A complete ban was lifted in Ireland five years ago for cases where the mother's life is in danger.

An Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI exit poll suggested that voters in the once deeply Catholic nation had on Friday backed change by 68 percent to 32 percent.

Campaigners left flowers and candles at a large mural of the woman, Savita Halappanavar, in central Dublin. "Today I believe we have voted for the next generation".

Ireland's government will be posed to consider legislation that would permit abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

"Today unborn Irish children have been stripped of their dignity and protections by a majority of the adult voting population", said Liam Gibson, spokesman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

The Lib Dem leader said: "Since there is, effectively, direct rule from Westminster, the government has responsibility and it can and should take the opportunity to deal with this issue properly".

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