Irish voters repeal constitution's ban on abortion: Exit polls

Irish anti-abortion campaign concedes it has lost referendum

Almost all of the voting regions counted so far backed repeal of the 1983 amendment and making parliament responsible for enacting abortion laws.

All but one of Ireland's 40 constituencies voted "Yes" and contributed to the 66 percent that carried the proposal, nearly an exact reversal of the 1983 referendum result that inserted the ban into the constitution. "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".

"I'd like to thank the people of Limerick, they've showed great compassion".

Orla Halpenny, a spokesperson for the pro-life group Doctors for Life, said the vote was "disappointing" and explained that she's now focused on ensuring doctors are given the right to conscientious objection, granting them permission to refuse to refer patients to abortion providers on moral grounds.

"Today, we have a modern constitution for a modern people", he said.

Credit PA
Credit PA

Jim Wells, a member of the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party that props up May's minority government, said the outcome in the south was "an extremely worrying development for the protection of the unborn child in Northern Ireland".

The women and equalities minister said it was a "historic" day for Ireland and a "hopeful one" for Northern Ireland. The strongest backing came from youthful voters - the exit poll says the only age group in which a majority voted "no" were voters who are 65 or older.

"The wrenching pain of decades of mistreatment of Irish women can not be unlived", Varadkar.

A spokeswoman for May said changing the rules on abortion is a decision that should be taken by a devolved assembly and the government is working to revive the power-sharing agreement.

Under the constitutional ban, while "due regard" was given to the right to life of pregnant women and girls, the state's responsibility was to "vindicate" the right to life of the "unborn".

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Senior Tory women have demanded Theresa May act to change the law on abortion in Northern Ireland after the landslide referendum in the Republic. As a result, thousands of Irish women make the trip overseas, often to England, to have an abortion.

Chants of "Yes we did" rose from the crowd as the Referendum Commission's Returning Officer Barry Ryan announced the final results. In our research (led by Dr Fiona Bloomer of Ulster University) on abortion as a workplace issue, women spoke of the silence and stigma surrounding abortion.

The death of an Indian dentist ignited the abortion rights campaign in Ireland.

Anti-abortion groups called the referendum result a "tragedy of historic proportions" with one saying it was already making plans to protest outside abortion clinics when they eventually open in Ireland.

"It's a day of relief and elation for many people in Ireland just to know that our country has been brought into modern-day society".

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Yes vote supporters celebrate as the results in the Irish referendum on the 8th amendment concerning the country's abortion laws takes place.

Abortions are only allowed in Northern Ireland if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her physical or mental health. The government has proposed allowing abortions in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, with exceptions for later terminations in some cases.

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.

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