Ireland: Abortion ban overturned by landslide vote

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Republic of Ireland have voted to overturn abortion ban
Republic of Ireland have voted to overturn abortion ban

The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%.

A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side.

Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman’s life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.

The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced.

The declaration was made at at Dublin Castle at 18:13 local time.

The only constituency to vote against repealing the Eight amendment was Donegal, with 51.9% voting against the change.

A vote in favour of repeal paves the way for the Dáil (Irish Parliament) to legislate for change which would see the introduction of a much more liberal regime.

In 2015 the country voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum.

‘Burden of shame is gone’

Reacting to the result, the taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar, who campaigned in favour of liberalisation, said it was “a historic day for Ireland,” and that a “quiet revolution” had taken place.

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Mr Varadkar told crowds at Dublin Castle the result showed the Irish public “trust and respect women to make their own decision and choices.”

He added: “It’s also a day when we say no more. No more to doctors telling their patients there’s nothing can be done for them in their own country, no more lonely journeys across the Irish Sea, no more stigma as the veil of secrecy is lifted and no more isolation as the burden of shame is gone.”

He said that some had voted yes with “pride,” but many had voted yes with “sorrowful acceptance and heavy hearts”.

Mr Varadkar said he understood that those who had voted against repeal would be unhappy.

He said he had a message for them: “I know today is not welcome and you may feel this country has taken the wrong turn, that this country is not one you no longer recognise.

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

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