Ireland’s pro-life Eighth Amendment appears headed for defeat

May 27, 2018, 02:42
Ireland’s pro-life Eighth Amendment appears headed for defeat

One poll by RTÉ suggested nearly 70% of the electorate have voted to end the constitution's all but blanket ban on terminations, with another, by The Irish Times, recording 68% in favour of reform.

A poll released by Ireland's national broadcaster RTE shortly after polling stations closed Friday night predicted that almost 70% voted in in favor of repealing a 35-year-old amendment to Ireland's constitution that placed the rights of mother and embryo on the same footing.

A Yes voter poses with a badge as votes are counted in the Irish abortion referendum, at the RDS Conference centre in Dublin on May 26, 2018.

Official results are expected late Saturday afternoon.

Senator Catherine Noone, chairwoman of an Oireachtas committee which recommended the abortion law changes, tweeted: "I'm feeling very emotional tonight - we are a great, compassionate people".

The referendum is one of the most anticipated, and controversial, in the heavily Catholic nation's history, as it could roll back rules that now only allow abortion in the case of a woman's life being at risk, but not for rape, incest or fatal fetal abnormality.

If the "yes" forces seeking a constitutional change prevail as the polls suggest, Ireland's parliament will be charged with coming up with new abortion laws. "A lot of other Irish women have had to travel in the same way if they've had to go to the U.K.to access safe abortion".

Earlier in the day, prime minister Leo Varadkar had said he was "quietly confident" that the Yes campaign would win.

An exit poll has suggested 68% of voters in Ireland have backed changing abortion laws.

"Wonderful, wonderful, today is wonderful!" said Eileen Shields, wearing a sticker reading "We made history".

Ipsos/MRBI claims a 1.5 percent margin of error for the results, meaning that whatever the final tally turns out to be, if the poll is accurate, it's still an overwhelming victory for "Yes". An Indian dentist, she died in 2012 at 31 in Galway, Ireland, after being denied an abortion while naturally miscarrying.

"Abortion on demand would deal Ireland a tragic blow but the pro-life movement will rise to any challenge it faces", said prominent anti-abortion campaigner Cora Sherlock.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar praised the historical vote as a "culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years".

As early as Tuesday, the Government will begin the process of introducing legislation to permit unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.

The conservative government of Poland, which already has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, has proposed tightening it further by banning abortion in cases of severe foetal disorders, including Down's syndrome.

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

A leading anti-abortion group admitted defeat Saturday.

He said, "I'm a staunch No".

Campaigning by pro- and anti-abortion groups has ramped up in recent weeks, dominating the news cycle in Ireland.

Under current law, abortion is allowed if the mother's life is in danger.

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