Ireland overturns abortion ban in landslide vote


The Eighth Amendment was introduced via a referendum in 1983.

On Friday, Irish voters overturned the 8th Amendment to Ireland's Constitution, which made it illegal for women to have abortions in the country.

In a historic referendum, the Irish people have voted by a landslide to repeal the 8th amendment to the country's constitution, allowing the government to legislate for abortion.

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

In Ireland, it's being called a quiet revolution and a victory for women.

"I feel very emotional", Zappone said.

"I want to reassure you that Ireland today is the same as it was last week, but more tolerant, open and respectful".

The vote comes three years after Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote, another move that Varadkar, who is gay, supported.

The vote in the Republic of Ireland may increase pressure on Northern Ireland to follow suit.

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Ailbhe Smyth, 71, co-director of the official Together for Yes campaign, said real-life testimonies from women affected by the law had helped swing the vote. The referendum states that abortions should only be performed when the mother's life is in immediate danger, as fetuses have an "equal" right to life.

The decisive outcome of the landmark referendum held Friday exceeded expectations and was cast as a historic victory for women's rights.

Effectively, that means abortion is banned in Ireland unless the pregnancy poses a real and substantial risk to the mother's life.

Mr Little said while Ireland's circumstances were quite different - the result of its referendum did indicate attitudes and values towards abortion were changing.

Abortion was first banned in Ireland back in 1861 by the Offences Against the Person act, and the ban remained in place after Irish independence. "And they are going to change now", a tearful Mellet said at the Royal Dublin Society, where the count took place throughout the day. The draconian amendment to the constitution had only been adopted in the 1980s, but since then, the country has fundamentally changed.

According to the Sunday Times, four former holders of the role - Amber Rudd, Justine Greening, Nicky Morgan and Maria Miller - all support Ms Mordaunt in her backing for change in Northern Ireland. A subsequent amendment was added allowing Irish women and girls to seek abortions overseas, and about 170,000 of them done so since 1980, The Journal reported. Alliance for Choice (Northern Ireland's key grassroots activist group campaigning for abortion rights in the region) regularly campaigned for a Yes vote in the Irish counties bordering Northern Ireland. Lawmakers who campaigned for a "No" vote said they would not seek to block the government's plans to allow abortions with no restriction up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

Varadkar said he wanted the law in force by the end of the year and Health Minister Simon Harris told AFP that the cabinet would meet on Tuesday to approve the drafting of legislation.

There were roars of approval Saturday when two women leaders of the Sinn Fein party raised a sign that read, "The North is next".

Northern Ireland's assembly can bring its abortion laws in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

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