Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Legalize Abortion


The final results of Friday's referendum showed 66.4 percent voted for removing the constitutional ban, while 33.6 voted against.

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. Savita Halappanavar, 31, died in 2012 because of complications from a natural miscarriage after abortion was denied to her.

"I feel safe now, I feel comfortable", she told CNN.

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar described the outcome as a "quiet revolution" that took place over many years.

He said Saturday would be remembered as the day Ireland "stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light".

"We've got justice for Savita".

Anti-abortion activists conceded defeat early on Saturday as their opponents expressed astonishment at the scale of their victory.

Despite the resounding victory of the yes vote, the No campaign's chief spokesman John McGuirk said they will continue to protest "if and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland". It is never wrong to speak up for what you believe in.

The RTE exit poll of 3,779 voters predicts support for the "yes" vote in urban areas to be about 72 percent, with rural support at about 63 percent.

With Ireland voting overwhelming to repeal the ban on abortion, the question now turns to what will happen next?

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Ailbhe Smyth, a veteran campaigner and co-director of Together4Yes, the national pro-repeal group, is one of those women.

About 170,000 Irish women have travelled to the United Kingdom and other places for the procedure since 1980.

"For him, it's a different Ireland that we're moving onto", said Colm O'Riain, a 44-year-old teacher referring to his son Ruarai, born 14 weeks premature in November who was in his arms.

The mood was jubilant at Dublin's Intercontinental Hotel, where supporters of the Together For Yes group spent hours watching the vote tally come in from the country's 40 districts.

While Bellamak says that's good news, the difference between Ireland and New Zealand is that Ireland went "straight to the people" while here it would be a conscience vote in Parliament.

To work around the restrictions, almost 170,000 women traveled outside of Ireland to the United Kingdom and other European counties to get legal abortions between 1980 and 2016, Vox noted. Cheers erupted every time partial results were shown on two big screens transmitting the latest television news.

More than 1,000 people gathered outside the castle, singing, chanting, and toasting one another with champagne as they waited for the official announcement.

They cheered when leaders of the "yes" campaign surfaced and they cheered for the prime minister when he arrived. The 1983 amendment, which will now be removed from the Irish constitution, introduced a strict fetus termination policy viewed as an effective abortion ban.

Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said she was deeply moved by the vote.

"Yes" campaigners argued that with more than 3000 women travelling to Britain each year for terminations - a right enshrined in a 1992 referendum - and others ordering pills illegally online, abortion is already a reality in Ireland.