Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Prime minister, abortion rights groups claim win in Ireland

Prime minister, abortion rights groups claim win in Ireland

Anne Milton, the skills minister and former deputy chief whip, became the latest to back a free vote in the House of Commons after Ireland voted to allow women access to abortions this weekend.

He campaigned for the change, which he said represented the compassionate choice for women forced to travel to England for terminations or taking unregulated abortion pills.

As a result, Irish women would wished to terminate their pregnancies had to seek illegal options within the country - at the risk of being thrown in jail for 14 years - or travel overseas.

Orla O'Connor, chair of the campaign, said: "The people have spoken".

The final results of Friday's referendum showed 66.4 percent voted for removing the constitutional ban, while 33.6 voted against. About 723,000 voters wanted to retain the ban. "We're really a tiny place, there's not that many of us and we can only shout loud now". Illegal abortions could be punished with up to 14 years in prison.

Yes Campaign Ireland
Prime minister, abortion rights groups claim win in Ireland

The Irish Times exit poll showed overwhelming majorities in all age groups under 65 voted for change, including nearly nine in every 10 voters under the age of 24.

Earlier, the No campaigners conceded defeat. But in a landslide, Irish voters rejected the amendment.

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

With the vote making newspaper frontpages across the world, French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter that "Ireland has once again made history". But he said the vote must be respected. Though votes were still be be counted on Saturday afternoon, but the Yes campaign's lead was insurmountable after already having performed well in exit polls on Friday.

The leaders of Sinn Fein, the province's largest Irish nationalist party that also has a large presence in the Irish republic, held up a sign on stage saying "The North is next".

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Varadkar said the Irish legislature will now move to repeal the Eighth Amendment and enact a new abortion law by the end of the year.

Ms Ewart said that in the absence of a devolved government in Northern Ireland, the prime minister and MPs should step in to help change the law.

"Wonderful, wonderful, today is wonderful!" said 65-year-old Eileen Shields, who had been ostracised for falling pregnant outside of marriage when she was 18.

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

Thousands of Irish citizens living overseas travelled home in droves to exercise their democratic right on the emotive issue.

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Mrs Halappanvar, 31, died in a hospital in Galway after doctors refused to perform an abortion as she miscarried.

The Law Commission needed to be left to do its work, and New Zealand's opinion was yet to be put to the test, Mr Little said.

Frank Gaynor, a 75-year-old retiree, said after the Mass that he never imagined the vote in favour of abortion rights would be so lopsided.

Ministers have promised to allow terminations within the first 12 weeks, subject to medical advice and a cooling-off period, and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

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