Irish turn attention to parliament as abortion ban voted out

Sergio Conner
May 28, 2018

Voters in the once deeply Catholic nation backed the change by two-to-one, a far higher margin than any opinion poll in the run up to the vote had predicted, and allows the government to bring in legislation by the end of the year. The Irish ultimately voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, with the "yes" side claiming 62 per cent of the vote.

Under the current law, an unborn child has the same right to life as the mother with the maximum penalty for accessing an illegal abortion 14 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is pushing to cut even more federal funding from Planned Parenthood, and Kentucky and Oklahoma are just the latest states to declare war on the medical procedure. 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.

In order to vote in an election or referendum you must be registered to vote, the cut-off date for registration was May 8, 2018. Her parents in India were quoted by the Irish Times newspaper as thanking their "brothers and sisters" in Ireland and requesting the new law be called "Savita's law".

"While the government can say that abortion is a devolved issue, human rights are not, and the collapse of the [Northern Ireland] assembly means that the power to right this wrong lies exclusively in Westminster", added Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a national charity that provides abortion services.

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar supported the reversal. The day we came of age as a country. "We are not a divided country", he said.

"I feel enormous relief and great pride in the people of Ireland who didn't maybe know what they thought until they were finally asked the questions", Ailbhe Smyth, a longtime women's rights activist, told CNN.

As news of the referendum circulated, Irish citizens living overseas have taken to Twitter to announce that they will be returning to Ireland to take part in the vote, using the hashtag #HomeToVote. A leading anti-abortion group admitted defeat Saturday.

Getty Ireland abortion referendum: Who can vote in Irish abortion referendum?

Katherine Zappone said Saturday she is confident new abortion legislation can be approved by parliament and put in place before the end of the year.

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".

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Together for Yes co-director Orla O'Connor said the results showed "a resounding roar from the Irish people" for repealing the Eighth Amendment.

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

Exit polls predict overwhelming support for the repeal of the constitutional ban. Officials results are expected Saturday afternoon.

"I do hope we will see more people taking part in this referendum, an exercise in democracy", Varadkar said.

Pro-Choice supporters celebrate as the results are announced to Repeal the 8th Amendmend and legalize abortion in Ireland.

Vera Rooney voted against repeal.

McGuirk said it will now be relatively easy for the government to pass more liberal abortion laws in the parliament.

In 2012, a woman named Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of sepsis (blood poisoning) at Galway University Hospital.

If the projected numbers hold up, the referendum would be a landmark in Irish women's fight for abortion rights.

"If this feels isolating for me, can't imagine how lonely it must be 4 her, travelling 2 the United Kingdom", wrote Gaffney, referring to women who travel to England to have abortions.

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